What say you? Are Trump supporters staying stagnant like this poll claims?
Donald Trump’s facing a wall within his party, with Republicans who don’t currently support him far more apt to prefer Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio in a two-way race — or even to favor a contested convention to block Trump’s nomination.
Trump continues to lead in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll, with 34 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning Independents who are registered to vote saying they’d like to see him win the nomination. But he trails both Cruz and Rubio one-on-one. And preferences for Cruz, Rubio and John Kasich have grown as others have left the race, while Trump’s support has essentially remained unchanged for months.
In the current multi-candidate race, 25 percent say they’d like to see Cruz win the nomination, with 18 percent for Rubio and 13 percent for Kasich; those are +4, +7 and +11 points compared with January, respectively, to new highs for each. Trump, by contrast, peaked at 38 percent in December. (In a difference from previous matchups, this poll asked respondents whom they’d like to see win, rather than whom they’d vote for, since the primaries are underway.)
In hypothetical two-way matchups, Cruz leads Trump by 54-41 percent and Rubio leads Trump by 51-45 percent in this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates. While the latter lead isn’t statistically significant, both are further signs of the apparent limits to Trump’s popularity within his party. Indeed, among non-Trump supporters, seven in 10 say they’d prefer Cruz, and as many say they’d pick Rubio, in head-to-head contests.
Two key groups help Cruz outperform Rubio mano-a-mano against Trump: strong conservatives and evangelical white Protestants. Cruz leads Trump by 60-34 percent among very conservative registered leaned Republicans and by 64-31 percent among evangelical white Protestants. Rubio’s margins vs. Trump in those groups are a closer 56-41 percent and 55-42 percent, respectively.
Both Cruz and Rubio run up the score among those who value experience over being an outsider and who oppose Trump’s signature issues, deporting undocumented immigrants and banning Muslims from entering the country. They also benefit from vast margins among women, more than six in 10 of whom choose either Rubio or Cruz over Trump. Trump wins a smaller majority of men.
The national survey, conducted March 3-6, also finds less drama but still a closer-than-previous race on the Democratic side, where Democrats and Democratic-leaning Independents who are registered to vote say by 49-42 percent that they’d like to see Hillary Clinton beat Bernie Sanders — the closest it’s been in any ABC/Post poll this cycle, dramatically tighter than the peak 68-16 percent Clinton advantage in vote preferences in July.
It’s the first time preference for Clinton has slipped below half of registered leaned Democrats in ABC/Post polls, as well as the first time Sanders has held a lead among men. Still, Clinton’s 12-point advantage among mainline Democrats is keeping her boat afloat.
Read more: ABC News