Establishment Republicans have been wringing their hands for months about what to do about Donald Trump. They alternate between despair and hope. Despair that the longer Trump remains atop the GOP field, the crazier the party appears to the public. Hope that, eventually, Trump will melt down and destroy himself, clearing the way for a more establishment candidate like Jeb Bush or Scott Walker.
Their major argument is “Trump as GOP nominee can’t win the general election against Hillary Clinton.” And previous polls seem to bear that out. Quinnipiac had Trump trailing Clinton 45-41 while the Democrat-leaning pollster PPP had Clinton ahead 46-44.
Now, a new poll from the respected SurveyUSA shows Donald Trump beating every Democratic candidate in the general election — including Hillary Clinton.
The poll by SurveyUSA finds that matched up directly, Trump garners 45 percent to Clinton’s 40 percent.
In other head-to-head matchups, Trump beats out Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) by 44 percent to 40 percent; Vice President Joe Biden by 44 percent to 42 percent; and former Vice President Al Gore by 44 percent to 41 percent.
The poll also found that 30 percent of respondents believe Trump will eventually be the Republican nominee, leading the field.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush came in second, with 20 percent saying they expect him to win the nomination. Following Bush in order were retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).
The poll surveyed 1,000 adults across the nation Sept. 2-3, and it had a margin of error of 3.3 percent.
The cross tabs to this poll are fascinating and reveal an opening for any Republican candidate in 2016.
Although the poll surveyed 1000 Americans, fully 900 of them were registered voters. Some highlights:
* Clinton wins among women 44-35. Trump wins men 50-35.
* The only age group Clinton wins is the 18-34 bracket, 50-31. Trump wins the 35-49 group by 47-35; 50-64 by 50-35; and 65+ by 55-37. Guess which age groups vote the most in elections? The 50-65+ brackets.
* Trump wins the white vote by 51-34 and gets an encouraging 25% of the black vote. Hillary wins the Hispanic vote 50-31.
* Among those paying “a lot” of attention to politics, Trump is beating Clinton 54-36. Clinton wins among LIVs by 43-34.
It’s hard to tell if these are anti-Hillary numbers or pro-Trump numbers. The usual Democratic constituencies are supporting Clinton; ditto Republicans. Trump is winning moderates and independents by small margins. Clinton’s “war on women” charge isn’t resonating. And her favorables are in free fall.
The important takeaway: Trump, despite claims from establishment Republicans, isn’t chasing anyone away and his style may be attracting older, established voters that are vital to Republicans for victory in 2016.