Even after they gave up the notion that Donald Trump was only a temporary phenomenon, pundits turned to predicting his “ceiling” of support. That, too, continues to defy expectations as it’s pushed ever higher over time.
So it is with a new CNN national poll out today that shows Donald Trump with a stunning 49 percent support nationally. Bear in mind that this is a poll focused on Republicans only — 306 registered Republican voters and 121 voters who lean Republican.
That’s 33 points above Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) who is in second place with 16 percent. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is in a close third with 15 percent.
Ben Carson only has 10 percent while John Kasich has six percent.
Trump was at 24 percent in September before his national polling numbers began to rise substantially.
The polling results show that as more Republicans get out of the race, more Republicans are leaning toward Trump for president.
Of course, this poll was conducted before any potential fallout from the weekend’s David Duke/white supremacist hullabaloo, which some are saying changes their minds about Trump. But, then again, despite anecdotal proclamations of dumping Trump, his support continues to only grow according to the polls.
That said, while Trump enjoys phenomenal support on the one hand, on the other, he continues to be deeply polarizing even among Republicans. Those who don’t support him are torn about whether they would support him if he is ultimately the nominee. This is a big problem.
According to the poll, 52 percent of Republicans said they would likely support Trump if he won — 48 percent indicated that they were unlikely to support him, including 35 percent who said they would “definitely not support” the controversial billionaire.
So where will that 48 percent of Republican votes go, if not to a Trump nominee? That’s a scary question. We can’t afford conservatives to split — or, even worse, sit out this election again.
Paul Kengor notes in The American Spectator, that Reagan’s “11th commandment” was never to speak ill of another Republican. Donald Trump’s commandment is to speak ill of every Republican. This scorched-earth approach is not only tearing down Trump’s GOP rivals, it appears to be alienating a large swath of voters on both sides of the aisle.
After these tactics, will we all be able to come together around whomever the ultimate nominee is — and rally around the greater cause?
[Note: This article was written by Michelle Jesse, Associate Editor]