Democratic pollsters Public Policy Polling released their latest results of a nationwide survey today showing businessman and 2016 Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump in the lead with 42% support. Voters were asked if the general election were held today, who would you vote for: Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Ohio Governor John Kasich, or Donald Trump? Ted Cruz lags far behind at 32% support, and John Kasich continues to show signs of strengthening and growing his voter base, landing in third place with 22% support. Four percent of respondents said that they remain undecided about their choice.
For the Republican portion of the survey, PPP surveyed 505 Republican primary voters nationwide from March 24-26, 2016. The margin of error for the Republican sampling is +/- 4.4%.
Much conversation has taken place regarding the public’s perception of whether Trump is conservative, moderate, or liberal. 44% of respondents say they believe Trump is moderate, while 31% see him as conservative, and 17% say that Trump is liberal. Voters choosing Trump see him differently, with 48% considering him to be conservative, while 42% believe he is moderate.
Cruz and Kasich fit squarely into different ideologies. 70% think Cruz is conservative, 16% see him as moderate, and 7% think he’s liberal. 51% agree that Kasich is a moderate, 28% perceive him as conservative, and 11% see him as liberal.
Head to head, Cruz lags behind Trump by two percentage points, with Trump at 46%, and Cruz at 44%. In the survey, 68% say they are committed to their candidate choice, while 32% say that they could change their mind prior to voting.
Now for the Mitt Romney question. A great deal of conversations have taken place surrounding whether or not Romney should be the candidate selected if the convention turns out to be a contested one. A very unfavorable 62% of respondents do not want Romney to be the nominee, 28% say yes he should be the nominee, and 10% were unsure. On the same question, 45% do not want Paul Ryan to be the nominee, 42% say yes, and 14% were undecided.
Trump’s support to be the nominee remains stable at about 42%, whereas Cruz has really not gained any ground on Trump. Cruz still remains approximately 10 percentage points behind Trump, and Kasich remains in third place with 22% support. With a ten point margin at this stage of the nomination race, Trump just keeps on performing well. If Cruz is to have any hope at all to catch up to Trump, he will need to win in 75% of the remaining contests, whereas Trump only needs approximately 40% of all outstanding delegates in order to win the nomination, prior to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, slated for July 18-21, 2016.
If no candidate receives 1,237 delegates prior to the national convention, then candidates will compete to see if anyone can reach that number. If it does not happen on a first ballot, convention attendees are welcome to nominate any Republican to be the party’s nominee. It is still too early to tell if there will be a contested, or brokered convention in the GOP’s immediate future.
The takeaway from this poll is that Ted Cruz is not gaining any ground on Donald Trump, while John Kasich’s role as a spoiler could be important in the weeks to come. Support for all three candidates is solid at today’s announced percentages, and has been close to the same support over the last month, Cruz is moving into a portion of the campaign where there will not be a majority of born-again Christians to hold his candidacy up high. Don’t expect Cruz to perform as he did in Utah in any of the near-term contests. For now, Trump has a commanding 10 point lead in this nationwide poll, just like he did last week, and the week before last.
Trump has the most direct path to the Republican nomination for president, as he still can win enough delegates to have the race wrapped up before the convention. The odds that Cruz can do the same are very much stacked against him. As for Kasich, he only hopes that his presence can prevent Trump from reaching the nomination, and that he would have a chance for the nomination at a contested convention. Should Trump fail to win on the first vote at the convention, expect Kasich to receive a lot of support as a party unifier.
We’re fairly certain that Mitt Romney reads these polls also. If he does, then he should take note that two out of three Republicans nationwide do not want him to be the nominee. We’re just waiting to find out if anyone is going to receive a blanket endorsement from Romney, and if such an endorsement would hurt more rather than help a candidate.