New polling from ABC-Washington Post shows Democrats haven’t yet settled on a 2020 favorite, nor have independents, but they do have a selection in common with about a third of Republicans: anyone but Donald Trump.
The poll didn’t quite go so far as to query the pairing of Trump vs. Lukewarm Omelet, but it did show that even with 56 percent of both Democrats and independents unable to put a name to a 2020 favorite, that same percentage of Americans would “definitely not vote for” Trump. That 56 percent wasn’t just a mix of Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters. 56 percent of all Americans were in the “will not vote for” column when it comes to Trump. Joining Democrats and independents in seeking a Trump-free America were about a third of Republicans who would rather see their party nominate an unnamed “someone” rather than suffer Trump, part 2.
In many cases, polls that involve a generic candidate may overstate support. “Any Democrat” is free from wounds delivered by the media slings and opposition arrows suffered by an actual named candidate. However, this polling is somewhat reversed from that usual generic balloting. The issue here isn’t the appeal of a shiny ideal candidate to be named later, but the distaste that a majority of voters hold for Trump.
Only 28 percent of voters said they would definitely vote for Trump, and a mere 14 percent allowed that a Trump vote remains a possible part of their future. That’s a massive danger sign for Trump. Because, while real Democrats may shed voters compared to a Platonic ideal, that number represents a cap for Trump that would seem unlikely to change by enough to find a majority. When similar polls were taken before President Obama’s second term, his “would not vote for” numbers ran from 41 to 46. In the actual election, Obama collected 51 percent of the vote, while 47 percent swung to Mitt Romney. In other words, the actual votes against Obama were quite close to the number of those who said they would definitely vote against him even before the Republican nominee was known.
For Trump, that number is a solid majority of Americans—one that’s large enough that there’s unlikely to be a disparity between the popular vote and the electoral vote.
The 56 percent in camp No Trump included 64 percent of women, as Trump’s gender gap remains … gaping. More worrisome for Trump might be the 59 percent of independents who marked him off their list of possibilities.
But it may be the third of Republicans searching for an alternative who represent the biggest obstacle for Trump. That number indicates a resounding lack of enthusiasm among many voters on the Right. Trump may still claim to be “more popular than Lincoln,” but the last two years seem to have cut a Mason-Dixon line between Trump supporters and those who thought they knew what the GOP was about. Even if most of those voters come home, as they probably will, it will not be enough.