Pew poll: More young adults support Gary Johnson than support Trump

“Young adults” means adults aged 18-29, of course. The good news for Trumpers is that Johnson actually pulls more teen and twentysomething votes from Hillary than he does from Trump, reducing her advantage over Trump within that age group.


The bad news is that, um, a third-party libertarian should not be leading the Republican nominee in any age group. Period.


As you can see from the topline numbers, Johnson’s overall effect on the race is a wash. Without him, Hillary leads by nine; with him, Hillary leads by … nine, with Trump stuck at a pitiful 36 percent. (Among women aged 18-49, with Johnson in the race Trump pulls just 22 percent.) If you follow the link above and examine Pew’s full table, you’ll find that Hillary leads him in every education group, from postgrad to those with a high school education or less (50/43). That’s surprising at first blush given the media hype about Trump’s strength among less educated voters, but his strength is really with less educated whites, specifically: He leads that group 57/36, one of his strongest demographics. There are lots of less educated voters who aren’t white, though, and he’s getting killed in that demographic. He’s also getting beat soundly among college-educated whites, 52/40. No Republican candidate for president has lost that group in 60 years(!) yet Trump trails by double digits. If that doesn’t change, he’ll have to win working-class whites by a bonkers margin to have a chance on election day.

There’s more good news and bad news in the poll. The good news: Trump is seen by far more people as likely to change Washington than Hillary is. The bad news:


Being the candidate of “change” worked out okay for Obama in 2008 but it won’t work in 2016 if voters think the change you’re likely to bring would involve cocking things up even more. Trump’s core message is that it’s time for a political revolution; if the electorate’s sense is that the revolution would be worse than what it’s replacing, I don’t know how he wins. Even a question about which candidate is more honest, a metric that should be pure poison for Crooked Hillary, has Trump leading by a paltry 40/37 margin. One of the chief virtues of an “outsider” vis-a-vis a Washington crony encrusted with corruption should be his comparative trustworthiness, a “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” vibe. Trump has none of that. That makes revolution hard.


There is some legit good news for him, though. If you’re worried that the GOP is more divided this year than it was four or eight years ago, stop worrying. Trump enjoys more “strong support” among Republicans than either Romney or McCain did:


When asked whether they’re voting for their candidate or against the other party’s candidate, more Republicans said the latter when Romney ran in 2012 (58 percent) than say so now for Trump (55 percent). Further afield, although Trump is getting predictably crushed by Hillary among Hispanics, he’s faring no worse, really, than Romney did. Mitt lost Hispanics 71/27; Trump is losing them 66/24. In fact, among Hispanics whose dominant language is English, he trails by just seven points (48/41). Among those who are bilingual or mainly speak Spanish, he trails by, er, 69 points (80/11). Make of that what you will.

One more factoid to contemplate. Although Republicans are more enthusiastic about Trump than they were about Romney or McCain, a majority expect that “many” in the party will end up ditching Trump. Not so among Democrats, who mostly see unity to come behind Hillary:


I’m not sure how to interpret that. Maybe Republicans are demoralized right now from the endless news about anti-Trumpers trying to oust him at the convention and he’ll catch a bounce later this month after he’s successfully crowned nominee. Or maybe there are a bunch of Republicans on the fence about supporting him and they’re hinting here that they may yet defect to Johnson (or even Clinton) later this year. Stay tuned. Here’s RNC chairman Reince Priebus repeating the Trump mantra that the party doesn’t need #NeverTrumpers in order to win the White House, which is probably true — and since it is, maybe someone could ask Sarah Palin to stop worrying about us? That’d be keen. Exit question: If the RNC doesn’t care about #NeverTrumpers, they don’t care about our donations in down-ballot races either, right?


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David Strom 2:40 PM | February 20, 2024