A poll conducted for Politico shows overwhelming support for Donald Trump to stay in the race.
Just 12% of Republicans polled on the question think Trump should drop out.
Overall, fewer than four-in-10 voters — 39 percent — think Trump should end his presidential campaign, while only slightly more voters, 45 percent, think he should not drop out.
But voters are largely viewing Trump’s comments through their own partisan lens: 70 percent of Democrats say Trump should end his campaign, but just 12 percent of Republicans — and 13 percent of female Republicans — agree.
As of now, GOP voters largely want the party to stand behind Trump. Nearly three-quarters of Republican voters, 74 percent, surveyed on Saturday said party officials should continue to support Trump. Only 13 percent think the party shouldn’t back him.
Still, Hillary Clinton leads Trump in the four-way race for the White House by four points, 42 percent to 38 percent, with eight percent supporting Gary Johnson, three percent supporting Jill Stein and nine percent undecided. Clinton also leads by four in a two-way race, 45 percent to 41 percent.
Operatives in both parties say they believe it will take several days — and Sunday night’s debate at Washington University in St. Louis — to have the video bake into the public consciousness.
I’m not buying the “video bake into the public consciousness” idea. If you see the recording, you have an immediate, visceral reaction to it. As Politico explains, there was a partisan breakdown in responses:
All poll respondents were showed the video in which Trump converses off-camera with then-“Access Hollywood” anchor Billy Bush (coincidentally, a cousin of Trump’s former GOP rival, Jeb Bush). Respondents were asked, following the video, to describe how they felt about the clip, on a scale from zero (very negative) to 10 (very positive), with 5 defined as “neutral.”
A 74-percent majority of all voters had a negative reaction to the video – including 47 percent who said their feelings were a zero (very negative). But there’s a partisan element to voters’ reactions to the video: 69 percent of Democratic voters said they had a very negative impression after watching it, but only 22 percent of Republicans gave it a zero rating. Ten percent of Republicans said the video gave them a positive feeling.
That 10% who got a positive vibe from the video probably can’t vote anyway. They’re serving time for sexual assault.
Some people take their cue on how to think about an issue from the majority of pundits who comment on it. They might not think what Trump said is disqualifying, but hesitate to say it so they don’t appear uninformed. Note the change in polling numbers from immediately after the debate where voters gave Hillary a narrow win, to those conducted over a three-day period that showed Clinton winning the debate convincingly. Some percentage of people change their minds based on nothing more than blather from commentators.
All this talk of Trump dropping out is nonsense. He can’t do it even if he wanted to. His name is on millions of ballots already in the hands of local election officials. As Politico notes in another article, “A major party has replaced its candidate once before. The consequences this time around could make the 2000 election crisis look like a playground argument.”
It’s not going to happen because it can’t be done. There’s no time. Hence, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, through victory or defeat, Republicans are stuck with Donald Trump.