Donald Trump is immune to reality: What the GOP establishment needs to …

25 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Iowa GOP swap their wingnut flavor of the month: New poll finds Ted Cruz doubling his support while Ben Carson plummets.

Almost half of Republican voters favor deporting all immigrants here illegally and barring Syrian refugees from entering the United States — a fact that helps explain Donald Trump’s resilient campaign for the party’s presidential nomination.

This weekend, MSNBC ran a piece explaining how “Ted Cruz could win the GOP nomination.” An NBC News poll out last week found the Tea Party senator surging to a second-place tie with a beleaguered Ben Carson nationally, and now, a more indicative Quinnipiac poll of Iowa GOP voters finds Cruz doubling his support from only one month ago to surge to second place in front of Carson, who plummeted ten points. Ted Cruz has surged over the last month in Iowa and is nearly even with frontrunner Donald Trump, according to the latest poll to rattle the nation’s first caucus state.

Trump first shot to the top of the GOP field by appealing to economically anxious voters who blame illegal immigration for pushing down their wages, reducing their job opportunities and soaking up taxpayer dollars. Ben Carson, who was at 28 percent in late October, dropped down to 18 percent following a period where he flubbed foreign policy questions and had elements of his biography come under media scrutiny. “Last month, we said it was Dr. Data from the latest Washington Post-ABC News national poll suggest those two issues — immigrants and refugees — differentiate Trump supporters from other Republicans. As Salon’s Sean Illing points out today, Cruz is hardly a moderate by any stretch of the imagination, but he is now attempting to simultaneously realign his brand in the wake of the Paris attacks by using softer rhetoric to sell his extreme policy prescriptions as more palatable to a general election electorate, and appeal to some of the most right-wing, evangelical voters in the nation. The numbers also show how linked those issues are for Republican voters this year and how they entwine with voters’ preference for an outsider candidate who will bring change to Washington. (For polling wonks, see a note below on sample size and statistical significance).

Nearly half of GOP-leaning respondents in the poll — 47 percent — both support the deportation of undocumented immigrants and oppose accepting refugees from Syria and other Mideast conflicts. The Iowa Republican Caucus has become a two-tiered contest: Businessman Donald Trump and neurosurgeon Ben Carson lead on the outsider track, and Sens. If a GOP-leaning voter supports deportation, there is a 79 percent chance she or he also opposes Syrian refugees, compared with 54 percent if they oppose deportation. The poll also found that GOP caucus goers oppose allowing Syrian refugees into the country, 81 to 15 percent, and support sending ground troops to battle ISIS, 83 percent to 9 percent.

Put another way, pro-deportation/anti-refugee voters account for almost three-quarters of Trump’s support. (He’s polling at 32 percent overall in the Post-ABC poll.) Perhaps as important for Trump, his two leading rivals from the so-called establishment wing of the party fare quite poorly with the anti-immigration/refugee group — which, again, appears to comprise nearly half the GOP electorate. Ben Carson polls at 19 percent; if Trump could woo all those Carson voters his way, he’d be within shouting difference of an outright majority in the primary field. Anti-immigrant/refugee voters cross traditional Republican constituencies — 32 percent identify as “very conservative,” but 39 percent say they are moderate or liberal (similar to other Republicans).

Of course, Donald Trump continues to embody the moniker, Teflon Don, as the former reality TV star saw his support in the Quinnipiac poll rise to a quarter of all GOP primary voters in Iowa, up from 20 percent last month, to regain his top spot. The poll, conducted entirely post-Paris attacks, also shows no negative impact of Trump’s recent trip to Iowa where he asked the crowd, “How stupid are the people of Iowa?” On the campaign trail, Trump has vowed to go after his new buddy if he continues to see his popularity surge to present a true threat. “Senator Cruz has been so nice to me, I can’t hit him,” Trump said in South Carolina earlier this year. “I may have to if he starts getting like really close.” “The other candidates will need miraculous comebacks to crack the top tier with slightly more than two months before the voting begins,” according to Brown. They also believe their man can win: 52 percent of voters who support deportation of immigrants say Trump has the best chance of getting elected in November 2016. Of those who prioritize change, 67 percent support deportation and 74 percent oppose Middle Eastern refugees, both higher than among Republicans who prioritize other attributes (46 and 62 percent, respectively ).

Looked at another way, the less politically troublesome opposition to refugees might serve as an opportunity for establishment Republicans to connect with these voters without staking out strong opposition to welcoming undocumented immigrants. Lastly, elite concerns about Trump’s electability may could spread as primary season rolls around or if Trump wins Iowa, galvanizing opposition around another candidate.

The sample size for deportation/anti-refugee Republican voters is 163, while the sample size for all other GOP voters is 209, carrying margins of sampling error of nine and eight points, respectively. While sample sizes are small, all reports of differing attitudes between groups below have passed standard tests of statistical significance at the 95 percent confidence level.

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