A sneak preview at the coming Republican civil war if things go sideways tonight and the election produces a blowout. According to YouGov’s Will Jordan, Ryan’s net favorable rating within his own party stood at +23 a week or so ago. Then, after the “Access Hollywood” tape was revealed, Ryan told House Republicans that he’ll no longer defend Trump or campaign with him. Trump spent the following week needling Ryan on Twitter and at his rallies for not showing the same support for him as Democratic pols showed for Clinton. That culminated in Trumpers chanting “Paul Ryan sucks” at a rally in Ryan’s home state of Wisconsin a few days ago.
Paul Ryan’s favorable rating today:
That’s 40 percent favorable, 45 percent unfavorable among Republicans — five points underwater, a 28-point shift in a week. In a week! His job approval among Republicans is even worse at 36/44. And then there’s this:
The Republican Speaker of the House is more widely disliked among the Republican base than he is among the Democratic one. Lest there’s any doubt what’s causing this, here’s what YouGov got when they asked people if Republican leaders were right or wrong to withdraw their support from Trump after the tape was released. Ryan actually hasn’t withdrawn his endorsement of Trump, but his phone call operated as a license to members of his caucus to withdraw their own if they felt it would help them politically. Result:
By a five-to-one margin, Republican voters dislike watching the rest of the party run away from Trump even though the point of doing that is to protect Republican congressional majorities as a potential check on Clinton. What Ryan’s experiencing now in his crumbling popularity on the right is a taste of what Ted Cruz experienced at the convention after he declined to endorse Trump in his speech, except Ryan’s acting in the interests of his caucus instead of his own national ambitions. There’s another complicating factor in the reaction too: Republican voters simply aren’t that troubled by the “Access Hollywood” tape that caused Ryan to kinda sorta cut Trump loose. Just 14 percent told YouGov they were bothered “a lot” by it and only 21 percent thought Trump has actually done the things he talks about on it. (Bear in mind, this poll was conducted from October 15-18, days after the sexual assault allegations started dropping.) When asked if it was mere “locker room talk” or something more, Republicans split 62/14.
In fact, check this out:
More Republicans said the tape made them more likely to vote for Trump than less likely. Mmmm, that’s some spicy partisanship! But note the independent numbers, particularly the 20 percent who said it made them much less likely to vote for Trump. If you’re looking for reasons to explain why Hillary has improved over the last month or so with indies and now leads them in various polls, there’s one. Similarly, Quinnipiac’s new poll today finds 24 percent of independents calling the tape a “deal breaker” and another 36 percent calling it a “big deal.” A near-majority of 45 percent of indies say they believe the sexual-assault allegations against Trump too (22 percent of Republicans agree). The tape obviously did some real damage and Ryan, recognizing it, encouraged his caucus to try to save themselves and the House majority with it. And now he’s being punished for it.
One more number from YouGov. This result is interesting given the beating Ryan’s taking from Republicans right now. The question asked was, “Who do you think is the leader of the Republican party?”
You would expect a majority of Republicans to say Trump when we’re a month out from Election Day. Nope — it’s Ryan, narrowly, which reflects either the deep ideological ambivalence on the right to the nominee or a growing resignation that Trump’s going to lose and Ryan will be the leader of the party the day after. Interestingly, pluralities of Dems and independents also say Ryan, not Trump, is the leader of the party. That’s especially odd among Democrats since you’d think they’d want to spread the idea that the very unpopular Trump is the face of the GOP, not the mildly unpopular Ryan. Maybe that’s the result of Hillary Clinton having spent the last three months telling the country that Trump doesn’t represent mainstream Republicans, a talking point that’s driven other Democrats nuts since it lets Republicans downballot off the hook for Trump’s worst excesses. If the GOP hangs onto the Senate, that’ll partly explain why.