2016: The GOP’s Four Faces

Politics & Policy

Deconstructing The Donald: Week 1

Like him or hate him, Donald Trump is the story so far.  Is he a political apprentice, someone with talent who’s just learning his trade?  Or is he a political mogul, a man whose knowledge of the art of the deal applies to politics as well as to business?

Since running for president has turned into the best reality show on television, it makes sense to chart The Donald’s “ratings” on a weekly basis just like a network does.  That’s what this recurring feature will do.

Each week, I will analyze all the polls and present where Trump stands with each of his “target audiences,” i.e., the GOP factions and demographic groups.  I’ll tell you who likes him most and least, who says they are voting for him, and who says they would never do that in a million years.  And I’ll relate it to the prior week’s standings for each group.

I wrote about this for National Review a few weeks ago, but as Scott Walker has learned, a few weeks can be a lifetime (or not) in politics.  Have things changed much since then?

The have — and they haven’t.  Trump is slightly more popular among potential primary voters than he was then, although his positive name ID has stopped rising.  He remains strong among men, people who have not graduated college, and self-described Tea Party enthusiasts.  His support does not tilt toward the most conservative elements, however:  The reason Trump is in front is that he is attracting somewhat conservative and moderate Tea Partiers. 

Trump remains most unpopular among the most educated group, people with a post-graduate degree.  (Remember that when you are watching or reading the punditry:  Most have Ph.D.s or law degrees.)  Women are much likelier than men to say they will never vote for him or, in test one-on-one races, to oppose him.  Those moderates who are not with him hate him:  He continues to both lead among moderates in the polls and among those who say they will never vote for him. 

With that introduction, here are the numbers (using only the four national polls and one state poll conducted entirely after the Reagan Library debate):

Henry Olsen — Mr. Olsen is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, an editor at UnHerd.com, and the author of The Working Class Republican: Ronald Reagan and the Return of Blue-Collar Conservatism.

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