Presidential candidate Donald Trump likes to tout his position in the polls as evidence of his credibility. Yet polling suggests that among leading GOP candidates, Trump would lose to the likely Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton. So why does he ignore those polls?
When paired against Clinton, compared to U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) in the latest Real Clear Politics (RCP) polling, Trump trails. In every single one of the top-seven polls curated by RCP in December, Trump loses. He’s got a net -6.1 percentage point disadvantage compared to Clinton, higher than the typical margin of error. That means the data shows his chances of winning are slim.
By contrast, Rubio is leading Clinton all but one of the RCP polls, with a margin of +1.9 percent — well within the typical margin of error. This means Rubio has victory over Clinton within his grasp.
Cruz’s results are mixed in a matchup with Clinton, with a 48 to 46 victory over the former Secretary of State along with a couple ties and some slight losses. Cruz’s overall RCP average is a slight 0.8 percent loss to Clinton, again, within the margin of error.
The same could be said of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie: both men trail slightly behind Clinton (Bush by 1.3 percent on average; Christie by 0.7 percent), but both are within the margin of error.
In general, Republican candidates do not perform well with women. The gender gap among women voters in 2008 was 56 percent for Obama compared to 43 percent for U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in 2008 and 55 percent for Obama versus 44 percent for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in 2012.
It is true that polling suggests Republican women to a surprising extent don’t seem to mind Trump’s antics. Some female GOP voters say Trump’s language shows strength or is simply showmanship. But looking at women more broadly, Trump founders — and reinforces the historical disadvantage Republicans have among women. Recent polling by ABC News found that women generally viewed Trump negatively by a margin of 64 percent, compared to just 33 percent favorably.
So it would be an electoral disaster for Republicans to nominate a candidate who has a track record of derogatory language toward women, the disabled, Latinos, Muslims and immigrants, among other groups. American voters want a statesman or stateswoman for president, and it’s no wonder that polling from the respected Quinnipiac University shows that 50 percent of Americans say they would be “embarrassed” by a Trump presidency.
“Half of American voters say they’d be embarrassed to have Donald Trump as their Commander in Chief and most Americans think he doesn’t have a good chance in November, but there he is still at the top of the Republican heap,” said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll. “Hillary Clinton tops him. Sen. Bernie Sanders hammers him and Sen. Ted Cruz is snapping at his heels. Can a candidate that half the American electorate thinks is an embarrassment win in November?”
Given these general-election realities, why would Republicans back the horse with the weakest chance of winning? Though Trump tries to position himself as an outsider and an atypical candidate, he certainly is pulling a tried-and-true tactic of so many two-bit politicians: ignore data when it proves you wrong and tout it when it does not. Though Trump has ridden a wave of dissatisfaction at Obama’s laissez faire approach to foreign policy and haphazard management of domestic affairs, it would not be wise for Republicans to let their emotions trump good sense.
Carrie Sheffield is a Senior Writer for Opportunity Lives. You can follow her on Twitter @carriesheffield and on Facebook.
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Carrie Sheffield is the founder of Bold. She is passionate about storytelling to empower and connect others. A founding POLITICO reporter, Carrie contributed on political economy at Forbes and wrote editorials for The Washington Times. After earning a master’s in public policy from Harvard University, she managed credit risk at Goldman Sachs and researched for American Enterprise Institute scholar Edward Conard. She earned a B.A. in communications at Brigham Young University and completed a Fulbright fellowship in Berlin.
This website is a rag comparable to People magazine
Hmm I don’t think you’d see such comprehensive polling analysis in “People,” though we appreciate the fact that you realize we are covering lots more than just politics. Politics is for life, and not vice versa.
This magazine should not be called Bold it should be called Bull.
Sorry that the facts don’t seem to match your opinion. All the best.
Be honest Carrie, who is bankrolling your endeavor here?