2016: The GOP’s Four Faces

Politics & Policy

Deconstructing The Donald, Week Three

It’s been a lighter poll week, probably because of the Columbus Day holiday weekend, but the data we have show a significant gain for Trump. The two national polls released this week both have him sitting on 27 percent, up from last week’s four-poll average of 19 percent and higher even than the mid-September 25 percent.  The eight state polls released — from states with 134 out of 435 Congressional districts — showed a smaller rise in the unweighted average from 23.2 to 25.5 percent.

Trump’s demographics remain steady.  Most polls continue to show him getting more support from moderates than very conservatives, from men than women, and from Tea Partiers than non-Tea Partiers.  His popularity, however, runs in the opposite ideological direction.  He is most popular among very conservatives and least popular among moderates and liberals.  If you’re a moderate Republican, you either love Trump or hate him.

These data would be great for Trump if all the states voted on the same day.  They don’t, however, and thus he must gain a significant number of voters to prevail in the inevitable one-on-one battles in the later stages.  PPP has regularly asked Republican voters whom they would back in four hypothetical matchups with Trump, and the results have been pretty constant since the Trump waved crested in early September.  Trump invariably thrashes Jeb Bush, loses big to Ben Carson, loses narrowly to Marco Rubio, and runs even with Carly Fiorina. 

This shows that there is a large anti-Trump contingent that is currently split among many other candidates.  It’s still very early and a lot can change.  But there are no data that suggest Trump will have either a cakewalk to the nomination or an early collapse.

This week’s breakdowns are below.

Henry OlsenMr. 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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