Bill Kristol argues that because Republican presidential candidates aren’t focusing on such issues as Obamacare and Supreme Court appointments—crucial issues on which Donald Trump is quite vulnerable—GOP voters are becoming “increasingly comfortable” with the notion of casting a ballot for Trump. A new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll of likely Republican primary voters provides further evidence of this increasing level of comfort.
The poll finds that as of ten months ago, less than a quarter (23 percent) of GOP voters “could see” themselves supporting Trump for the nomination. (Trump’s 23 percent then trailed the tallies for all GOP candidates except for Lindsey Graham and Carly Fiorina.) Ten months later, the percentage who say they “could see” themselves supporting Trump for the nomination has nearly tripled—rising to almost two-thirds (65 percent). That’s higher than the tally for any other Republican candidate except for Ted Cruz (71 percent) or Marco Rubio (67 percent), and even Cruz and Rubio aren’t beating Trump by much in this regard.
The speculation has always been that Trump couldn’t prevail if it ever came down to a two-man race—the theory being that most GOP voters would presumably prefer almost anyone to Trump.