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Guy Benson | Poll: only half of non-Trump GOP voters would support him in the general election





Guy Benson, Townhall:

As is so often the case, this survey contains great news for Trump backers within the narrower context of the GOP primary, but is filled with bad omens for the general election.  The Donald’s support outpaces that of his two closest competitors (Rubio and Cruz) combined nationally, but among Republican voters who don’t favor Trump, only half of them say they’d pull the lever for him in November.  Some would defect to the Democrats, others would vote third party or write in someone else, and still others would simply stay home.  Mitt Romney narrowly won independents in 2012, but still lost the election to Barack Obama.  (As a narrative-busting aside, Romney also won more votes than John McCain, carried the white vote by the same margin as Reagan in 1980, and won the same percentage of self-described conservatives — who turned out as a record percentage of the electorate last cycle — as Reagan did in the 1984 landslide.  And he lost). Just like much of Trump’s appeal is visceral, rather than policy-based, this poll demonstrates that the same applies to his opposition within center-right circles.  His GOP-leaning detractors cite his temperament and propensity toward insults as top reasons why they’d refuse to back him in a general election.  His petty feuding resulting in a debate no-show probably only intensifies those opinions.  People aren’t likely to warm up to a guy whom they view as "an embarrassment," candidly. In short, if Trump loses independents, maybe badly, and also sheds a significant share of traditional Republican voters, the notion that he could offset those deficits by producing millions upon millions of magical new voters looks like a desperate fantasy, not a plausible strategy.

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