What Would It Take for GOP Voters to Dump Trump?

What Would It Take for GOP Voters to Dump Trump?
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Although some recent polls show double-digit leads for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump, in the RealClearPolitics poll average Trump trails Clinton by about five percentage points. Curious as to what it would take for Republicans to abandon their nominee, YouGov on July 2-5 presented a sample of 1,004 Republican Party identifiers from our online panel with a hypothetical: “If, at the time of the Republican convention, Donald Trump trails Hillary Clinton in the polls by [percentage], should the Republican Party consider a different nominee?”

The respondents were randomly allocated into four groups, with each group given a different hypothetical scenario — a 5 percent Clinton lead, a 10 percent Clinton lead, a 15 percent Clinton lead, or a 20 percent Clinton lead. These scenarios range from the current RCP average to a historic landslide.

What we found was that Republican voters don’t seem to care much about Trump’s showing in the polls. The percentage of respondents who think the GOP should reconsider having Trump as its nominee ranged from 18 percent when his deficit was at the current level to 24 percent if that deficit were 15 percent. Changing the size of Trump’s deficit doesn’t make Republicans much more likely to consider an alternative. In every case a clear majority — about two-thirds — give a definite “no” answer to switching nominees.

Nearly all voters who say they supported Trump in the Republican primaries say the party should stick with its preferred nominee. The only Republicans who are willing to abandon Trump were previously supporters of other candidates in the primaries and, even then, a majority rejected the idea of changing nominees at this late date. There’s nothing in the polling data to suggest that Republicans want an open convention.

Douglas Rivers is chief scientist at YouGov, a professor of political science at Stanford University, and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. 

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