Even now we don’t know exactly who his supporters are and where they are most likely located.
Nate Cohn of the New York Times’ Upshot blog sought to answer this question.
Cohn used data from Civis Analytics, a Democratic data firm, to chart Trump’s likely support by congressional district. Civis arrived at their estimates by taking 11,000 interviews with Republican-leaning respondents over the last five months and putting them through their statistical model.
What they found is that Trump’s largest areas of support are in the Deep South, Appalachia and his home state of New York. Western states, which along with the South have been part of the Republican coalition since the 1980 Reagan Revolution, don’t seem enthusiastic about him.
From their map, I’ve compiled below the percentage of likely Trump supporters in each PA congressional district along with that seat’s incumbent and their party. One note: Cohn states that this model applies to Republican general election voters and has a fairly large 8.7% margin of error.
PA-1: 31% (Bob Brady-D)
PA-2: 35% (Chaka Fattah-D)
PA-3: 38% (Mike Kelly-R)
PA-4: 34% (Scott Perry-R)
PA-5: 37% (Glenn Thompson-R)
PA-6: 41% (Ryan Costello-R)
PA-7: 41% (Pat Meehan-R)
PA-8: 36% (Mike Fitzpatrick-R)
PA-9: 33% (Bill Shuster-R)
PA-10: 39% (Tom Marino-R)
PA-11: 39% (Lou Barletta-R)
PA-12: 37% (Keith Rothfus-R)
PA-13: 34% (Brendan Boyle-D)
PA-14: 28% (Mike Doyle-D)
PA-15: 38% (Charlie Dent-R)
PA-16: 40% (Joe Pitts-R)
PA-17: 35% (Matt Cartwright-D)
PA-18: 37% (Tim Murphy-R)
An interesting revelation is that Trump doesn’t run strongest in the western Appalachian part of the state but in the eastern section. Recently, I analyzed how the western half of Pennsylvania is trending Republican while the eastern half is going Democratic.
For instance, his worst district by far is the western seat of PA-14 (the district, however, only contains Pittsburgh, a progressive city in a conservative area). Meanwhile, his best districts are the Southeastern duo of PA-6 and PA-7, seats that are thought to be fairly competitive.
How does Cohn explain this?
He points out that Trump is particularly strong with weak and/or former Democrats.
“Mr. Trump appears to hold his greatest strength among people like these — registered Democrats who identify as Republican leaners — with 43 percent of their support, according to the Civis data,” he writes.
Cohn goes on to point out that this could be a problem for the outspoken New Yorker.
“Mr. Trump’s strength among traditionally Democratic voters could pose some problems for his campaign. Many states bar voters registered with the other party from participating in partisan primaries,” he explained. “Other states go further, not allowing unaffiliated voters to vote in a primary; in the G.O.P. race, for example, that would mean restricting the electorate to those registered as Republicans — one of Mr. Trump’s weakest groups. This group of states includes many favorable to Mr. Trump, like Florida, Pennsylvania and New York.”
Trump’s biggest problem, though, is that the people most likely to support him are the people most likely to stay home on Election Day.
“Another turnout challenge for Mr. Trump is that he commands the support of many people who are unlikely to vote,” Cohn continues. “Civis found him winning 40 percent of the vote among those it gave less than a 20 percent chance of participating in the general election — let alone in the primary. He held 29 percent among those who had greater than an 80 percent chance of voting in the November election.”
Thus the conundrum for Pennsylvania’s Congressmen. What are the costs and benefits of appealing to a group of passionate yet controversial voters, who may ultimately decide not to cast their ballots anyway?