9 March 2016

Only 34% of Republicans are in the #NeverTrump camp


Donald Trump had a better day yesterday in the primary contest than he had at the weekend and the chances of him winning the Republican nomination outright have risen again – especially because we are now approaching the winner-takes-all states where his 35% to 40% or so vote could well give him lots of 100% sweeps of delegate allocations.

But what if he doesn’t? What if he falls short? We asked the YouGov First Verdict panel to say what kind of percentage of delegates he needs to receive in order to still deserve the GOP nomination.

Only 34% of Republicans are in the #NeverTrump category that has been featuring prominently on Twitter and social media generally. Specifically, 34% agreed with the contention that “if Republicans can stop Donald Trump getting their nomination they should do so – even if Trump gets 49.9% of delegates”. 47%, in sharp contrast, agree that “as long as Trump gets more delegates than other candidates he should be the Republican nominee and should pick his own vice presidential running mate”. Another 7% specify 40%+ of delegates should be the threshold for Trump getting the green light and 8% specify 45%+. In other words, if the infamous Republican establishment tries to deny Mr Trump the nomination if he fails to win a majority of the delegates – but still wins most of them – he will potentially be able to appeal to most Republican voters with claims that first past the post should prevail.

Democrats, interestingly, are much keener for everything possible to be done to stop Trump getting the GOP nod. 58% say he should be denied the ticket even if he gets 49.9% of delegates. Some might interpret this as a reflection of fear of a Trump candidacy in November’s general election. It could, however, also be simple and deep-rooted opposition to such a controversial and divisive personality receiving such a prominent position in US politics.

If there is a brokered convention there is no consensus at all on what ticket should emerge. 36% of Republicans prefer a Trump-Cruz or Cruz-Trump ticket. 39% support some combination of Cruz, Rubio and Kasich. Only 6% support a completely new ticket headed by Mitt Romney and 3% would welcome a ticket led by Ryan.

For more about Portrait of America and the methodology behind First Verdict, click here.

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Tim Montgomerie is Editor of Portrait of America