The Wall Street Journal recently highlighted Gallup data that measured political preferences in exurban areas. These are regions directly outside metropolitan areas where residents generally have more education and higher income than the national average. These areas represent about 222 communities and 32 million people, according to the American Communities Project, and have reliably voted Republican since 2000. In 2012, Mitt Romney won 58% of this demographic, while Donald Trump won 56% in 2016.
According to Gallup, however, the share of exurban voters that identify as Republican has dropped over five points in the last six months. In Dec. 2016, 51.6% of voters in the exurbs identified as Republican, 36.8% as Democrat, and 8.5% as Independent. At the end of June, those numbers were 45.5% (-6.1), 40.5% (+3.6), and 9% (+0.5), respectively.
This is the smallest share of exurban voters identifying as Republican since Gallup began tracking this demographic. During the 2010 Midterm Elections, for example, 49.9% identified as Republican, 36% identified as Democrat, and 9.7% identified as Independent. During the 2014 Midterms, those numbers were 50%, 34.8%, and 10.5%, respectively. Republicans should keep an eye on these voters and prevent deeper losses among them over the 15 months remaining before the 2018 Midterms.