BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich. (AP) – Jill Mott does not like the tweets. The hard line on the border is too hard. And when asked whether she will vote for President Donald Trump a second time, she lets out a long, deep sigh.
"That's the question," said Mott, a Republican from suburban Detroit.
In the moment of hesitancy, Mott is the portrait of a small, but significant slice of vote poised to wield a significant influence in the 2020 presidential campaign. They are the 18 percent of those who are just "somewhat" approving of the president.
Trump is most in the process of making his or her book known as Republicans, or even more so in his or her request for a US-Mexico border, leading to a Budget impasse with Congress.
An analysis of VoteCast, a nationwide poll of more than 1
Trump supporters, the "somewhat" Trump voters are much more likely to disapprove of Trump on key issues as well as to express divergent opinions on a need for a border wall, gun control and climate change. They are much more likely to be in a trustworthiness and temperament.
They are less likely to call themselves conservative and are probably more educated, more likely to be women, and more likely to live in suburbs.
"What he says himself is the biggest issue," said Mott, a 52-year-old occupational therapist, who asked for a Christmas break outside the Gucci store at the Somerset Collection luxury mall. She also worries about the president's fiery approach to immigration.
"Mott said, pointing to Trump's rhetoric about becoming a caravan of Latin American migrants seeking asylum at the time of writing. border. "However, I think he could do much better in showing concern for these people, offering short-term help."
As Trump barrels into his third year in office, and tightens his focus on his own re-election, he has paid attention to shoring up support from voters such as Mott.
Still, Trump's political future may depend on their support, especially among the more educated and affluent suburban women who set aside their concerns about Trump two years ago and will be asked to do so again in 2020. Their backing helped Trump carve through the midwest, but with little margin for error. The president won Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania by less than 80,000 votes combined.
VoteCast found that 16 percent of those who were "slightly" supported Trump's job performance decided to vote for Democratic House candidates in the November midterms. That's compared with 6 percent of those self-identified as Trump's "strong" supporters.
The democrats capture the house majority, picking up 21 of their 40 new seats in Trump trusts carried only two years earlier. The flipped Trump districts include Michigan's 8th Congressional District, a swath of suburban middle-class America set between Detroit and Lansing.
The Trump supporters are not ready to turn their backs on him or his party.
Michael Bernstein voted for Trump in 2016 and said he would likely do so again in 2020. Bernstein, 52, points to the economy and to Trump's success in getting justices approved to the US Trump brings. The Supreme Court as the right candidate, but the freelance car writer from suburban Trump brings.
"He's supposed to represent the country and the people who do not like him," Bernstein added. "He does not, he prefers to play in the dirt."
Still, November's elections bear out signs of erosion. In Michigan's 8th Congressional District, two-term Republican Mike Bishop was ousted by Democratic Newcomer Elissa Slotkin, who trump supporters in part to skeptical.
"That's part of the reason we won – those voters who kept open mind, who never really liked the tweeting and the chaos and the vitriol who thought the president would be more presidential," Slotkin said in an interview.
"We had lots of voters who said I was the first Democrat they ever voted for," she said. They just voted for the candidate who represents their values. "
The VoteCast analysis argues that Trump supporters have some views in common with Democrats in the Trump era.
About half of Trump's "somewhat supporters" said Trump has the right temperament to serve effectively as a president or as regards him honest and trustworthy.
President Barack Obama's health care law should be repealed entirely.
Trump backers and more likely to call for tighter gun laws.
Immigration exposes another clear rift to the Trump coalition.
Most Trump supporters favor building the border wall, but just over 32 percent of its somewhat supporters are strongly in favor of 80 percent of its strong approvers.
While 60 percent of Trump backers said they were illegally deported, about 6 in 10 reluctant supporters said they should be offered a legal status.
Still, Trump supporters want to abandon the president in his 2020 re-election, said Republican pollster Frank Luntz, hence a Trump skeptic.
"They have rejected the Democrats." But they do not fully embrace Trump.
Republic Leaders Are Trivial in the Trump's Trump's Supporting Trumps. Some hope he learns to focus his message on the economy.
About 90 percent of Trump's somewhat supporters are still supporting their handling of the economy, and 8 in 10 said he is a strong leader, he is bringing needed change to the government and he stands up for what he believes.
"Theresa Mungioli, the GOP chairwoman of Oakland County, Michigan, where I have more money in my paycheck, more people working in our community, home values are up." Republicans lost two congressional seats this fall.
She acknowledged that some midterm voters, especially women, may have been soured on Trump's leadership, especially as it pertains to security issues.
"Maybe in part because the president can be – likes to bluff in his negotiations, which makes it look like he's on the brink of war," Mungioli said. "That kind of instability was something that voters expressed."