Despite the hysterics of the #neverTrumpumpkins, reality is re-asserting itself, just as it always does:
Donald Trump has been anything but a conventional Republican presidential candidate. He has, to take just one example, lashed out against the three previous GOP nominees, Mitt Romney, John McCain and George W. Bush. And the three most recent Republican standard-bearers, especially Romney, have attacked Trump. All the craziness made it seem for a while as if the Republican Party might come apart at the seams, and that might still happen. But nearly a month after Trump vanquished Ted Cruz and John Kasich from the primary race, Republican voters are rallying behind Trump as if he were any other nominee.
In the last four live interview polls that broke down results by partisanship, Trump averaged 85 percent support against Hillary Clinton among respondents who identified as Republicans. Clinton won just 7 percent among GOP respondents. Trump’s share of the Republican vote at this point in the campaign is right in line with past nominees.
And why is this important?
The fact that Republican voters are treating him as any other nominee may give him a floor on his support, ensuring he doesn’t get blown out by Clinton. Even if Clinton wins most voters in the center of the political spectrum, it’ll be difficult for her to run up the score if Trump is pulling a similar percentage of Republicans as past nominees did. The last time either party’s nominee won the general election by double digits (1984), he pulled a quarter of the opposing party’s voters.
The bottom line:
If Trump continues to win most Republicans and Sanders supporters continue to hold out even after Clinton clinches the nomination, Trump has a real shot of winning in November. Otherwise, it will be a tough road for him. But, for now at least, we can put to bed the notion of a strong #NeverTrump movement among Republican voters.
Sleep tight, kiddies.