Every one of 10 recent Iowa, New Hampshire, and national polls of Republicans shows Trump with more male support than female support. | Getty
–The GOP should stop fooling itself. Trump is reaching more than just undereducated, angry white men.–
By Scott Bland
01/08/16 – 06:35 AM EST
Republicans explain away their unwelcome poll-leader by dismissing his supporters as a loud but narrow network of angry white men and celebrity chasers.
It’s not true. A POLITICO review of private and public polling data and interviews with GOP pollsters shows a coalition that certainly begins with conservative, blue-collar men now extends to pro-choice Republicans, independents and even registered Democrats unnerved, primarily, by illegal immigration.
Indeed, the uncomfortable truth, for the pundits and fellow Republicans who turned their noses up at Trump, is that his appeal has spread over seven months so far beyond a rabble-rousing, anti-establishment rump to encompass the very elements of the American electorate the GOP has been eager to reach. And while it’s no majority, it’s a bigger group than anything the rest of the fragmented Republican field has galvanized.
“His coalition is not all angry working white males,” said Adrian Gray, a Republican pollster. “It’s all stripes. It’s a pretty big coalition. And among other demographics where he’s doing worse, he’s still leading or in the top two.”
Certainly, non-college-educated men have formed his base. Every one of 10 recent Iowa, New Hampshire, and national polls of Republicans shows Trump with more male support than female support and significantly more support from non-college graduates than those with degrees.
Trump’s robust performance with this group, however, has deflected attention from the breadth of his coalition. Though Trump has less support with women and educated men, he’s still at or near the top of the GOP field in those categories. And, exposing the depth of the GOP establishment’s misunderstanding of Trump’s support network, his coalition includes far-right conservatives as well as people who hardly register on Republican radar.
Trump’s supporters skewed significantly against the GOP grain on abortion, for instance, in an internal poll of Iowa caucus-goers conducted for a rival presidential contender last summer. Respondents who identified themselves as “pro-choice” were three times more likely than “pro-life” voters to support Trump, according to a Republican strategist with knowledge of the survey.
One large dataset shows Trump excelling above all with voters who call themselves Republicans even though they aren’t officially registered as Republicans.
Civis Analytics, a Democratic data firm founded by veterans of President Barack Obama’s campaigns, built a model based on over 11,000 phone interviews with self-identified Republicans in 2015, part of a wider polling project. The data, first reported by The New York Times, shows Trump getting the support of 29 percent of registered Republicans but 36 percent of registered independents and 43 percent of registered Democrats, who in some states can still participate in GOP primaries.
The Civis data projects Trump’s support by congressional district, showing that Trump is especially strong in the rare pockets of the country where Obama performed worse while winning the 2008 presidential election than John Kerry did while losing in 2004, according to a POLITICO analysis.
In the Civis’ model, Trump runs ahead of his 33-percent national average in 30 of the 40 districts where Kerry matched or exceeded Obama’s performance, even though Obama ran about 5 points ahead of Kerry nationally.
To read expanded column, click here.