A Public Policy Polling (PPP) survey released on July 22, 2015, finds that Donald Trump is still the frontrunner for the Republican nomination. Trump continues to leads the national GOP field with 19 percent support, followed by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker at 17 percent, and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush at 12 percent. Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson and Florida Senator Marco Rubio round out the top five, with each of them polling at 10 percent support.
Trump continues to hold the lead in the Republican field, even after making his controversial comments mocking John McCain for being captured as a POW during the Vietnam War. While 50 percent of Republican voters disagreed with Trump’s comments, compared to only 22 percent who agreed, the fallout has not cost Trump his lead in the Republican race.
Republican voters want Trump as their nominee, but choosing him to represent their party would be akin to political suicide. Trump trails Hillary Clinton 50-37 percent in a head to head match-up. He also trails Bernie Sanders 47-37 percent, making him by far the weakest Republican candidate surveyed, when pitted against a Democratic opponent.
The PPP poll also found that if Republicans choose not to nominate Trump, he could still inflict fatal damage on the party if he decides to follow through on his threat to run as an Independent candidate for president. For example, in a three-way race between Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush and Donald Trump, the Democrats would win in a landslide. In that hypothetical match-up, Hillary Clinton polls 43 percent, followed by Jeb Bush at 25 percent, and Donald Trump at 23 percent.
Republican voters find Trump’s demagoguery appealing. By a 49-36 percent margin they hold favorable views of the bombastic billionaire. However, American voters in general view Trump negatively, with just 29 percent seeing him favorably compared to 61 percent who dislike him.
Republican voters can choose to nominate Donald Trump to represent their party in 2016, or they can select another candidate and hope that Trump doesn’t run as an Independent. Either way, the bottom line is that if Donald Trump’s name appears anywhere on the ballot in November 2016, the Democrats will win their biggest landslide victory since LBJ crushed Barry Goldwater in 1964.
Keith Brekhus is a progressive American who currently resides in Red Lodge, Montana. He is co-host for the Liberal Fix radio show. He holds a Master’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Missouri. In 2002, he ran for Congress as a Green Party candidate in the state of Missouri. In 2014, he worked as a field organizer for Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick’s successful re-election bid in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District. He can be followed on Twitter @keithbrekhus or on Facebook.