Fox news poll: Narrow majority of Republicans want a different nominee

A leftover from last night. I blogged the NBC/SurveyMonkey poll showing that 67 percent want to keep Trump as nominee, so here’s a reminder that not every pollster is telling that same story.

In fact, it’s none other than TrumpTV’s own polling outfit that finds a majority of GOPers pining for a different nominee. Imagine the look on Sean Hannity’s face when this landed on his desk yesterday.

Democrat Hillary Clinton is up 44-38 percent over Trump in a head-to-head matchup. Earlier this month, Clinton had a three-point edge (42-39 percent). In May, Trump was up by three (45-42 percent). Clinton’s current lead is just inside the poll’s margin of sampling error…

Since May, Trump has lost ground with Republicans (-8 points), whites without degrees (-10 points), and men (-9 points)…

In addition, just over half of Republicans would prefer a different nominee (51 percent someone else vs. 48 percent Trump). And while most GOP voters describe Trump as intelligent, more than 7-in-10 feel he’s hot-headed and obnoxious.

Pollsters have been slippery in how they word their “dump Trump” questions. NBC asked Republicans if they “would have preferred” a different nominee, which sounded to me less like a question about whether people are willing to dump Trump now than about how they voted in the primaries. Fox’s question is better — “Who would you rather have as the Republican Party’s presidential nominee?” — but arguably flawed too. Again, some people may be treating that as a test of pure preference rather than as asking whether they’d endorse mutiny at the convention in the name of deposing Trump. Pollsters who broach this subject going forward should frame it that way explicitly. Should Trump be replaced at the convention? Would the party stand a better chance of winning this fall if it nominated someone else, or should the party stick with Trump since he won the most votes? Pure preference questions are interesting as a gauge of lingering unhappiness with Trump on the right but they don’t tell you much about how far people would be willing to go to act on that unhappiness.

Which brings me to the newsiest bit of data. Once again we have a poll showing Trump struggling to break 75 percent among Republicans when they’re asked how they plan to vote in November.


Note in the excerpt above how many points Trump has lost within his own party over the past month, bearing in mind that Romney took 93 percent of GOPers against O. Hillary’s now broken double digits among Republicans in a head to head race. When you include Gary Johnson by name in the mix, he takes 10 percent of the vote overall thanks to 13 percent of Republicans peeling off to support him. (Just five percent of Democrats do so.) Trump did a nice job of uniting the party in the first few weeks after Indiana but there’s little doubt anymore that he’s backslid since then. Whether he stands a chance this fall may depend on whether he can win back the Republicans who were once on his side but have now inched away.

If you doubt that there’s been shrinkage among Republican support for him, here are very similar numbers from YouGov’s new poll today:


Just a week ago, YouGov had Trump pulling 80 percent of Republicans with Johnson winning just four percent. Now he’s done to 75 while Johnson’s up to seven. He’s shedding parts of his own base. Only those defectors know whether they’re #NeverTrump or merely exploring their options with intentions to come home this fall if they can’t get comfortable with Johnson, but this is not the trendline anyone would expect three weeks out from the convention. Presumptive nominees are supposed to be consolidating support on their side right now, not losing it.

Here’s a useful graph from YouGov showing how much more divided the right is than the left, even though Sanders is still technically in the race right now and his lefty base views Hillary (correctly) as a corrupt tool of Wall Street. Fewer than 40 percent of Republicans who backed a different candidate in the primaries are on the Trump train right now:


Twice as many anti-Trump Republicans are prepared to cross the aisle for Clinton than anti-Clinton Democrats are prepared to cross it for Trump. Similarly, Fox News notes in its own poll write-up that 24 percent of Republicans “lack confidence that Trump would make the right decisions for the country” versus just 14 percent of Democrats who feel that way about Clinton. He should be grateful that Romney continues to hold out on running despite pleas from his own family(!) as there’s no telling how many Republicans would shake loose if Trump were no longer the only game in town. I think Trump would outpoll Romney all the way to Election Day but Romney would certainly pull enough votes from him at this point to wreck Trump’s chances of winning.

As for that Rasmussen poll today, which leads the Drudge Report as I write this, Ed already wrote it up but I’ll leave you with this screencap from RCP’s poll page to show you just how much of an outlier it is. You need to go back to mid-May to find a national survey where Trump was leading. In fact, Fox’s and YouGov’s numbers today are nearly identical: Fox has Hillary ahead 41/36 with Gary Johnson at 10 percent while YouGov has it 40/35 with Johnson at 8. That’s right in line with Clinton’s RCP average lead of 4.8 points.