The Trump Paradox: He Can Win A Crowded Primary, But He’s Doomed In A Two-Way Race


donald trump

Donald Trump continues to dominate the Republican presidential field, with polling numbers putting him well ahead of any other GOP presidential candidate. Yet, despite his apparent strength in the polls, he remains the least liked candidate in either major party who is currently running for president.

That Trump is a polarizing figure should come as no surprise. However, the juxtaposition of him widening his lead in the GOP primary, at the same time that most American voters have an unfavorable opinion of him, may seem paradoxical.


A recent YouGuv poll finds that Trump has surged to a double digit lead in the Republican field with 28 percent support, to 14 percent support for his nearest competitor, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. Trump enjoys this commanding lead in the Republican primaries, even though along with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, he is one of the most disliked candidates with Republican voters. A full 42 percent of GOP voters have a negative opinion of Trump, compared to 53 percent who view him positively.

While those numbers aren’t terrible, they are quite a bit less favorable than Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s 57-18 favorable spread or Florida Senator Marco Rubio’s 63-17 favorable rating. Trump isn’t as well-liked by GOP voters as those men, but he is still beating them soundly in the Republican field.

Trump may be benefiting from deep support even though he lacks depth of support. Not many voters like him, but the voters that do like him seem to like him better than anybody else in the race. That sort of deep support is powerful in a multi-candidate field where a candidate who can secure as little as 20-30 percent of the vote can win. However, it creates problems in a two-way race, where victory requires amassing support from half the electorate.

Trump’s current success in the crowded Republican race masks his weakness in a two-way contest. His commanding lead is largely a function of the size of the GOP field, rather than a testament to his political strength.

A Gallup Poll released Friday July 24, 2015, found that 56 percent of American adults had an unfavorable opinion of Trump, compared to just 32 percent who viewed him favorably. Those kind of numbers are politically fatal in a two-way general election match-up. As long as Trump continues to hold a lead in the GOP field, he will create the illusion of being a formidable political candidate. However, despite his early success in a multi-candidate race, he lacks the breadth of support to win a general election.

Donald Trump’s ”fifteen minutes of fame” may go into overtime, if they haven’t already, but ultimately he doesn’t have the numbers needed to win a presidential election. The question isn’t “if” his campaign will eventually flame out, but rather “when” it will.

41 Replies to “The Trump Paradox: He Can Win A Crowded Primary, But He’s Doomed In A Two-Way Race”

  1. …Trump just can’t win against a Democratic rival; he has no leverage…and his vague generalities with his promises of revealing his “Proof” after the election will work against him…

  2. You are assuming his objective is to win. Wrong. His objective is to bring down the GOP and their corporate masters in an epic GOT style coup.

    We will then be obligated to him for saving us from them. Hair and all.

    He’s amusing himself.

  3. bernie packed in 4500 in freakin Louisiana, tonight! he’s making a point to the red states that his message resonates even with the south. there is a subreddit now republicans for bernie. look, its a long shot. but if justice dept. gets into hillary’s emails, its over for her. AG Lynch, has a very hard choice. and NO ONE is in the DNC’s bullpen, but bernie. trump v sanders??????? wow.

  4. What comes out of Donald Trumps mouth RESONATES well with the people that think similarly with his campaigns; racist, uncivil and inhumane rhetoric equivalent to our nations percentage of Republicans-32%…

    Donald Trump had been shown a door when he had confronted the Republicans in the past to run for Presidency…
    Now HE IS POLITICAL SHOWING THE republican presidential candidates THE DOOR out of 2016 Presidential contention. Great job Trump… Show them who they really are.

    VOTE Bernie Sanders 2016!!!

  5. Donald Trump shown a door when he had attempted to get a blessing from the republicans to run for Presidency in the past…

    DT’s mouth mimicking racist, inhumane and uncivil Republican rhetoric IS CATCHING NATIONAL REPUBLICAN SUPPORT fire of 32%…equivalent to the percentage of Republicans in our nation?!?

    Great reason Huffman Post placed him in the “Entertainment Section”. Hate, War, Fear, and Lying Mongering section!?!

    Thank you Trump…

    Sanders 2016

  6. Who cares if he can’t win. I don’t want him to win. I just want him to terrorize the Republican Party.

  7. Robyn, You’re absolutely right!

    Trump doesn’t want a PLUTOCRACY running America! He knows Citizens United Money is controlling GOP Puppet-Strings.
    Especially Scott Walker who with all that money could actually slip in there and win!

    That’s why he trying so hard to out-smart them. Trump could never win the General Election…but he thinks he can!

  8. Must Read:
    Trump on the 2008 financial crisis: “I don’t think the Democrats would have done that” (Democrats didn’t Crash the Economy)

    “Donald Trump explained this morning why he has identified more with Democrats in the past and his example was that Republicans caused the financial crisis of 2008.

    Scroll Down Trump on the phone:

    (Don’t be surprised if Trump doesn’t experience some deadly accident!)

  9. Dream on folks.

    He’s smarter than an entire peck of Republicans, or a truckload of Democrats.

    He can beat Hillary hands down, and well as Bernie Sanders.

    I would make the argument that the country needs a Republican president, if for no other reason than to remind us just how crooked and venal they are.

    Trump will “win” in Iowa, in New Hampshire and in South Carolina, and come in second in Florida. It will be all over, as he will be on cruise control for the rest of the primaries.

    Hillary will once again shoot herself in the foot, and screw up like a skyrocket…again.

    More popcorn

  10. Horsefeathers.

    The man is all icing, no cake. He has YET to give the public anything substantial.


    He may resonate with the Republican Retards, but he’ll still need the votes of non-Republicans and the semi-retarded Republicans as well if he wants any chance.

  11. Ross Perot.

    Ralph Nader.

    Split the vote, the other guy wins.

    Of what substance does the man have?

    Remember when Obama was running? Apparently being a Senator wasn’t enough to be POTUS.

    What’s sTRUMPet got? Failed TV show. Failed Business empires. Failed marriage.

    He will fail at the presidential run as well- as like all of his other failures- he’ll never admit to himself what everyone else knows.

  12. Hope Robyn is on to something genuine.
    Trump just might be our Trojan Horse.
    And Shadowolf, “irie vibes” is rasta speak
    for “happy trails”. Thanx to you and all our
    vets for your service and sacrifices. Now if
    only the govt. would allow our returning
    heroes the calming benefits of cannabis, no
    telling how many suicides and other tragedies
    could be averted. Jah bless.

  13. GOOOD MORNING VIET NAM! LOL ok now lets step back a little, trump is doing so well because he’s saying what the majority of republicans are thinking! “WE THE WHITE PEOPLE” are sick and damn tired of OUR america turning BROWN! C’MON! lets be HONEST! the GOP isn’t over 89% caucasian by freakin’ ACCIDENT! these people are typically from the civil rights era of the 60’s, they remember MLK! and they were PISSED off of the idea of NON WHITES being treated as human beings! and guess what? they’re WORST nightmare came true when Obama got elected! lets be HONEST! these people are americas OLD FILTH! the dying breed of racism! TRUMP is channeling their HATE nationally! and they’re tickled PINK! but heres their problem, they only represent 20 to 25% of america, SORRY GOP, theres just not enough RACIST backwoods LILY WHITE $HIT kickers to win nationally! Heres a idea for you, certain parts of Europe are embracing HITLERS insane ideology, AGAIN, so get a passport and get the FU@K out!

  14. …no flak from THIS front Rastalari…I have some neuro probs, some from service…I’d like to try med marijuana, but so far that’s no-go…regular meds bad for appetite…
    …and whatever blessings are accorded to old sailors are headed your way…

  15. Sorry, but I have to respond to this.

    SoS Clinton is as politically savvy as anyone. I doubt very much that her emails would contain anything that could sink her chances for a run at being POTUS. I know I wouldn’t commit anything to paper that could come back and bite me and she is a heck of a lot smarter than I am.

    Those emails are being used as a smoke screen with the Republicans jumping up and down pointing their fingers at her hoping no one will pay attention to what they are doing. Thats SOP for them. Don’t be fooled.

  16. I think the Trumpkin is great. The focus is now on how ridiculous this ‘Hellzapoppin’ freak show is in the Repuke circus …and how entirely UNSERIOUS the whole lot of them are. AND, what cowards and incompetents, too. Not one can step up and call out the gasbag for fear of offending the nativist ‘base’ that any and all of them need to advance in the primaries, and later in the general.

    Without Trump keeping the small minds occupied, the conversation would likely be how crazy and out-of-the-‘mainstream’ Bernie Sanders was, and even greater emphasis on MUS and nonsense attacking Hillary.

    Trump can keep blowing up the overflowing toilets and showing the world that the Repukes are Keystone Cops and fools for the ages.

  17. I agree with the accident part. Remember what happened to Wallace in 1972. I don`t think the Koch brothers are happy right now.

  18. The RNC and almost all of the GOP’s growing field of POTUS wannabes regard Trump to be a boil on the backside of the GOP — and yet Trump has been polling well with their target electorate.
    Therein lies the problem.

    Once again, the Republican Party’s unenviable task will be to thread a ‘political needle’ — find a candidate irrational and inflammatory enough to get nominated by placating the ideologically self-serving corporate-controlled conservative base as well as the homophobic extremists of the Religious Right, the racist Confederacy-loving white Southerners, the xenophobic Latino-bashing anti-immigrant crowd, and the secession-happy Tea Party loons … yet rational enough to satisfy the rest of America in order to win in the general election.
    Good luck with that.

  19. QUICK!!! SEND ALL THAT GOOEY FROSTING TO FLUCKED-UP-BEE…he’ll thank ya…right before he drops from glucose overdose…lol

  20. Since the contenders for the WH have to disclose their tax returns, maybe it is time to require a mental proficiency exam?I want leaders in charge who are a heck of a lot smarter than me, and I do not think ANY of the gop/tp party are! At the rate the gun lovers are mowing others down in the red states, how many will be left to vote by the general election? Why doesn’t McCain unseal hi military records and prove to Trump that he is a “hero”? Maybe he isn’t, and that is what he is keeping hidden?

  21. Investigating Hilary takes up their time, away from REAL problems such as jobs, healthcare, living wages. Tearing her down is so much fun, and much easier that actually WORKING.

  22. Your thoughts are interesting and provocative. That said, I think he’s too much of an egotist ever to be concerned about anyone else but himself. This race should be even more exciting than 2008, if one wishes for excitement. We need a President who is intelligent, has a steady hand, is experienced in the business of government, and who actually cares for his constituents. So far, in this crowded slate, there is only one person who fits that definition-Bernie Sanders. He brings no personal, political or financial baggage to the table. Will he win? If people will get their heads out of the sand, turn of Fox, quit gossiping and pay attention to fact, not fancy.

  23. The big question: Is Trump any LESS qualified than every other Republican in the race ?
    I argue not so. Trump’s the poster boy for what a Republican SHOULD look and sound like !

  24. …I’ve known many Teahadists and Teatards AND NeoConArtists,{Many in me own family!!!}
    …and I’ve met a few Rastafarian’s…wanna guess which I’d welcome into me home???

  25. I saw it on cable a couple years ago and my wife who isn’t into politics will read something and say that movie is right on point

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