The FINANCIAL -- It’s down and dirty time for the GOP. All three remaining Republican candidates refused to say at a CNN town hall last night whether they would support the party’s eventual presidential nominee if they didn’t win.
The media and the GOP establishment, many of whom are struggling to stop Donald Trump and, to a lesser extent, Ted Cruz, from winning the nomination, are sure to express surprise and outrage. The headlines as usual are on Trump, but Cruz and John Kasich also declined to repeat the pledge of party unity that all of the candidates signed eight months ago.
However, Rasmussen Reports polling finds that only 31% of Republican voters believe candidates who don’t win the party’s presidential nomination should be required to publicly support the person who is nominated.
Still, 60% of Republicans say it is at least somewhat important to their vote that candidates who don’t win their party’s presidential nomination publicly support the person who is, although just 33% say it is Very Important to their vote. Among unaffiliated voters who are very likely to determine the outcome of this year’s presidential contest, only 14% consider party unity a Very Important issue.
By comparison, 65% of Republicans and 53% of unaffiliated voters say the selection of a new U.S. Supreme Court justice is Very Important to their vote in November.
More ominous for Republican leaders intent on stopping Trump from being the nominee is our finding that 24% of GOP voters – and 15% of unaffiliateds - are Very Likely to vote for Trump if he runs as a third-party candidate.
Eighty-four percent (84%) of Republicans think Trump is likely to win their party’s nomination this year, with 53% who say it’s Very Likely.
Trump has benefited from the anger many Republicans feel toward their current elected leaders. Seventy-six percent (76%) of GOP voters now believe Republicans in Congress have lost touch with the party’s base nationwide, the highest-ever level of disapproval in regular surveying on this question since 2008.
The GOP elites are still fighting the voters in their own party, though, seemingly without a clue what to do next, while winning in November appears to be the furthest thing from their minds.