Monmouth poll: 60% of Trump supporters want him to run as an independent if he loses the nomination

Not wildly out of line with what Suffolk University found last week, that 68 percent of Trump fans would support him as a third-party candidate if he broke from the GOP. Which makes this a nice complement to the Reid Ribble post yesterday. Republicans don’t want to support their guy as nominee? Well, right back atcha.

A question for establishmentarians going forward: Is Ted Cruz the only potential nominee who could bring grassroots conservatives and Trump fans out to vote for him in November? Trump would lose some of the former while Rubio would lose many of the latter. And if the answer is “yes,” that Cruz is the only man who can bridge the gap, does that actually make him more electable than the supposedly highly electable Rubio? In other words, is “GOP base + Trumpers” a bigger coalition than “GOP base + whatever swing voters Rubio can bring in”?

Few Americans (32%) would like to see Trump run as an independent if he fails to win the GOP nomination, while 61% say he should not. This sentiment runs across all partisan groups. Few independents (34%) and Democrats (29%) would like to see Trump mount an independent candidacy. A similar number of Republicans (35%) would like to see Trump run as an independent. However, there is a sharp divide among voters who already support Trump – 60% of whom would like to see him mount an independent bid if he does not secure the nomination – and Republican voters who do not support Trump – 80% of whom think he should call it a day if his nomination quest fails.

Are Democrats really so strategically stupid that only 29 percent want to see Trump run third-party? Don’t they know what that would mean for Hillary’s chances?

Here’s another sharp divide between Trump fans and Trump critics within the GOP:

Donald Trump’s proposal to ban all Muslims from entering the United States generates little support, even among his fellow Republicans. Just 26% of Americans are in favor of this idea while 67% are opposed. Majorities of Democrats (83%), independents (64%), and Republicans (52%) oppose such a ban. In fact, only those voters who specifically support Trump for the GOP nomination favor such a ban (61% to 29% opposed). Among other Republicans and Republican-leaning voters, nearly 2-in-3 (65%) oppose a ban on Muslims entering the country, with only 26% in favor.

At the same time, most Republicans are glad that Trump is raising this issue. Overall just 39% of Americans feel Trump is saying things that need to be said while 48% say he is making things worse. Among Republicans, 68% agree that Trump should speak out on this, including 92% of Trump supporters and 50% of Republican voters who support another candidate for their party’s presidential nomination.

Huh. So far, most polls show Republicans onboard with Trump’s travel ban for Muslims. Bloomberg pegged that number at 65 percent; YouGov had it a bit higher at 69. I assume the reason Trump’s suddenly hitting new highs in his national polls is because of his travel ban proposal. (Terrorism is now the most important issue for Americans, per Gallup.) But something doesn’t add up here. This Monmouth poll showing opposition to the ban even among GOPers is the same Monmouth poll that showed Trump racing out to a yuuuge 41/14 lead over Cruz yesterday. How is the travel ban pushing him upward if most Republicans disapprove? What we’re seeing here, I guess, is extreme polarization on the issue: People who like the idea really like it, to the point where they’re rallying to Trump now if they weren’t already backing him before. They’re a minority of the GOP but a big enough one to give Trump his biggest lead yet over a field that’s still split many ways.

Trump’s going to learn a lesson from that too. When you need a shot of buzz to goose your polls — like, say, if you’re down five points in Iowa a week before the vote — you should get even crazier with the cheez whiz. Lord only knows what media-grabbing policy proposal he has planned for the last week of January in case Cruz is still ahead. The only sure winner is, well, me. Two words, my friends: Traffic goldmine.

Exit question: Now that he’s filed to run in Ohio and Texas as a Republican, isn’t Trump barred by state law from running there as an independent later? Answer: Maybe! Or maybe not!