January 26, 2016

GOP ESTABLISHMENT “PEER PRESSURE” ISN’T WORKING: A new Washington Post/ABC poll shows that Trump is enjoying a growing lead, his support is strong and stable with likely GOP primary voters/caucus-goers, and he is now deemed “acceptable” as a candidate by two-thirds of Republicans.

The poll also finds no sign that Trump’s support wavers among the Republicans who are most likely to attend primaries and caucuses, which are typically low-turnout contests. Trump’s 16-point advantage among all registered Republican voters is similar to his lead among Republicans who say they are certain to vote, report voting in 2012 Republican contests or are following the race “very closely.”

Although there was resistance to his candidacy at the beginning, Trump now is broadly acceptable to GOP voters. About 2 of 3 Republicans say they would find him acceptable as their nominee, a percentage almost identical to Cruz’s and Rubio’s. Rubio is seen as the least unacceptable, followed by Cruz, Carson and then Trump. Only about half of Republicans say Christie and Bush are acceptable, and Bush has the highest “unacceptable” percentage at 45. . . .

The new Post-ABC survey suggests that a sizable majority of Republicans believe that whatever happens in those early states, Trump will emerge with the nomination — a dramatic shift from when he first entered the race in June to mixed reviews and overcame widespread unfavorable impressions among GOP voters before his campaign launched. Today, more than 6 in 10 Republicans say Trump is most likely to win the nomination, up from 4 in 10 in the late fall.

Trump leads among nearly all demographic groups, including a narrow advantage among white evangelical Christians, a key target of the Cruz campaign. Trump’s strongest support comes from those with incomes below $50,000. Previous surveys showed Trump with significantly more support among those lacking a college degree, compared with those who have graduated from college. The new survey finds no significant difference. . . .

On a wide range of issues and candidate attributes, Trump dominates his rivals. Majorities of Republicans say he has the best chance of getting elected president and is most likely to bring needed change to Washington. More than a third say he is closest to them on issues. He and Carson are seen as the most honest of the GOP candidates, while Trump and Cruz are seen as having the best personality and temperament to serve as president.

So apparently, the GOPe talking point that I’ve heard repeatedly in the last week or so–that Trump may be leading in Iowa but his supporters are political neophytes who are less likely to “turn out” to a long, drawn out caucus event— is not panning out in the polls. Likewise, the GOPe’s elitist attempt to brandish Trump supporters as xenophobic/racist, uneducated, low-information voters who aren’t “really” Republican is not merely overtly insulting to the GOP itself, but utterly wrong. According to a new CNN/ORC poll released today:

[Trump] leads among both men and women, younger and older voters, white evangelicals, conservatives and both self-identified Republicans and independents who lean toward the party.

There are two subgroups where Trump’s lead is less dominant: college graduates and tea party supporters. Even among those groups, however, he remains at the head of the pack. Among those holding degrees, 26% back Trump, 20% Cruz, and tea party supporters split 37% for Trump, 34% for Cruz.

In fact, when I dug deeper into this CNN/ORC poll, I found several potential headlines that CNN would never report.  The most surprising one, to me, was that Trump’s lead among GOP women is substantial, with 37% likely to vote for Trump, with the next closest candidates being Ted Cruz with 21 percent, and Marco Rubio with 11 percent. Perhaps more importantly, when asked to describe how they would feel if Trump were the GOP nominee, 42 percent of GOP women said they would be “enthusiastic” (the highest ranking), versus only 39 percent of GOP men.

As for voters’ age, Trump’s lead over Cruz is larger with younger voters than older ones. Among poll participants age 50-64, Trump leads Cruz 43 to 20 percent, whereas among those age 65 and older, Trump’s lead over Cruz fell, 38 versus 25 percent.

Regarding income, Trump’s support among the “over $50K” income group (42 percent) is virtually the same as among the “under 50k” group (43 percent). Trump also leads among college grads, with 26 percent supporting him versus Cruz, who has 20 percent of college grads’ support, and Carson, who garners 12 percent of the likely GOP college grad voters.

So apparently, Trump has strong support among younger, highly educated, high-income, and female GOP voters. Who knew? Apparently, not the GOPe.

RELATED: James Taranto discusses the social-acceptability bias with respect to Trump: “I don’t know anybody who supports him.”