NBC: Trump's support "softens" in our latest polling

AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Out of sight, out of mind? Is this a continuation of a problem some pollsters have already identified in reaching Donald Trump supporters? At least according to the numbers in NBC’s latest polling, it looks more like a fade, although it’s pretty slight, and even the slight downward trend still shows Trump as the major figure within the GOP:

His ratings among all adults stands at 32 percent favorable, 55 percent unfavorable, which is down from his rating in January (40 percent favorable, 53 percent unfavorable among registered voters), as well as where he was in the poll right before the election (43 percent favorable, 52 percent unfavorable among registered voters).

By comparison, President Biden’s current favorable/unfavorable stands at 50 percent positive, 36 percent negative.

Even Trump’s pull within his own party appears to have lessened, with 44 percent of Republicans saying they’re more supporters of Trump than the GOP, versus 50 percent who say they’re more supporters of the GOP than the former president.

It’s the first time since July 2019 when party supporters have outnumbered Trump supporters in our poll, and it’s also the first time that party supporters have reached 50 percent on this question.

The issue of polling limitations probably doesn’t apply as acutely when looking within the Republican demo, as opposed to the entire sample. It’s still likely a factor, though, one that even NBC News acknowledges in this report. They admit that their polling seriously underestimated Trump’s support before the election, and allows that skeptics of their polling “could be right” to take these results with a grain of salt.

Even taking these numbers at face value, there doesn’t appear to be a significant change in standing for Trump among Republicans. That’s pretty apparent in the way that other party leaders commune with him at Mar-a-Lago, for instance. Plus, it’s still pretty remarkable that nearly half of all Republicans surveyed align themselves more with Trump than the party with whom they affiliate. That still suggests that the GOP has a cult-of-personality problem, and that’s not getting better with Trump’s exile from social-media platforms.

Even if that number has come down a bit since his election loss (and Trump’s meltdown over it), that doesn’t look like support for Trump is significantly “softening” as a result of his leaving office. That dropped only two points from 46% in January, which is well within the margin of error. It’s a more significant drop from the 54/38 grip Trump had on the party just before the election, but … that was at the very end of a hotly contested presidential campaign, too. To be fair, though, Trump routinely scored above 50% over the past two years on this question, so it’s definitely a bit of a fade … but not since January.

Anyway, why should we be surprised at the incremental fade demonstrated over the past three months of relative quiet? Trump lost the election, after all, which should have put a serious dent in his standing. It’s surprising that Trump hasn’t faded much more than this NBC poll demonstrates. If Trump’s social-media exile continues that trend could accelerate, and the rise of figures like Ron DeSantis might accelerate it even further. For now, though, it looks like Republican leaders will still have to reckon with Trump and his loyal base in the midterms, if not in the 2024 primaries — whether he runs himself or not.

Jazz Shaw Jun 22, 2021 6:01 PM ET