Culture

On the Ides of March, Trump Breaks 50% Nationally

Yes, the contest for the GOP nomination is not fought nationwide, but state by state. And yes, a Trump loss to John Kasich tonight in Ohio might — might — put his clinch of the nomination on hold for a bit. But this news seems important nonetheless:

In the last two weeks, Republican frontrunner Donald Trump has won more delegates in primaries and caucuses, even while his opponents have launched new attacks and questions have been raised about his supporters.  The week’s Economist/YouGov Poll finds Trump still at the top of GOP voters’ preference with a wider lead, while Florida Senator Marco Rubio seems most damaged by the two weeks of attacks and counter-attacks.

This is the first time Trump has garnered the support of a majority of Republican primary voters nationwide. YouGov’s February 24-27 survey marked his previous high, at 44% support.

The #neverTrump crew keeps insisting that the insurgent businessman has a “ceiling” to his support, and that in a two-man race his inability to win more than 50 percent of the vote will damage him. But now he’s hit 53% in the YouGov survey. Further:

Trump, who is the clear GOP frontrunner (74% of Republican primary voters expect him to be the nominee), still has a way to go to win over the supporters of his GOP opponents.  About four in ten Republican voters don’t think Trump cares about people like them, and believe he cares more about himself than the country.  A third are dubious about his plans for the economy, think he is not honest and trustworthy, and say he isn’t ready to be Commander-in-Chief.

What separates Trump voters from those supporting other candidates is the importance of the issue of immigration.  While Republican voters generally think the economy is the country’s most important issue, no matter whether they are for or against Trump, Trump’s supporters are nearly five times as likely as supporters of other candidates to say immigration is the issue that matters most to them.   But Trump’s brashness may be more important than his issue positions.  The most important reason people support Trump, chosen by both Trump supporters and opponents in the party, is that he is not politically correct.

And there is the secret of his support in a nutshell.