The Corner

Deconstructing the Donald: Week 4

Donald Trump has recovered from a post-debate dip to post his highest national average, 27.2 percent, since the month between the first and second GOP debates. This includes his single highest national poll result, 32 percent in the most recent ABC News/Washington Post poll, since his 33 percent in the early September edition of that same poll.

Trump’s demographic-support trends remain steady.  He does better among non-college graduates than among college grads; among men than among women; among moderates and liberals than among conservatives; and among independents than among Republicans.  His support remains unusually similar across all factions, however, making him the least factional of any GOP front runner in the modern era.

Trump’s state average support also remains high, although the smaller number of state-level polls means this week’s average is not directly comparable to the averages from weeks two and three. Seven state-level polls, including three of New Hampshire, have been released since last week.  Including the average from the three New Hampshire polls, Trump’s state average is now 34.1 percent.  The states polled, however, include only 54 of the nation’s 435 congressional districts, down from the over 130 CDs included in the state averages from prior weeks.

More ominously for Trump opponents, the number of Republican primary voters who said they could never support him has significantly dropped in the two polls to ask that question.  Only 36 percent said they could not see themselves supporting Trump in the most recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, down 12 points from last month’s tally.  He now has fewer Republicans saying they could not support him than all but three other candidates — Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, and Carly Fiorina.  Moreover, only 18 percent told the Fox News pollster that they could “never” support him, again a large improvement from the prior Fox poll.

This does not, however, mean the nomination is his for the asking.  Public Policy Polling continues to be the only pollster that asks about hypothetical one-on-one matchups, and its most recent poll of New Hampshire shows the same trends as last week.  Trump easily beats Jeb Bush, loses by a large margin to Ben Carson, and loses by smaller margins to Marco Rubio and Carly Fiorina.

Thus, Trump remains a strong contender but is by no means certain to win.  The pro-Trump voters are largely behind him now while the anti-Trump voters remain split between many candidates.  Once the field narrows, as it inevitably will, the race will get much closer.

This week’s demographic 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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