Donald Trump may be delusional in claiming to enjoy broad support about Hispanic voters despite his slurs against illegal immigrants, as the latest polling suggests. But the bombastic billionaire businessman appears to be appealing to a far broader base of Republican voters than just angry white men and “crazies,” as his critics contend.
The new NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll released on Sunday showing Trump leading the crowded field of Republican presidential candidates with 19 percent of the GOP vote – a few points ahead of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and former Florida governor Jeb Bush – contains troubling news for Trump’s chief competitors.
While some analysts say the business tycoon and reality TV showman may already be bumping up against a ceiling of potential support among Republicans even before the first primary vote is case early next year, the poll shows Trump has plenty of opportunity to expand his lead.
Indeed, a Monmouth University poll of 1,203 registered voters across the country released today shows Trump leading with 26 percent of the vote among Republicans – a better than 2 to 1 lead over Bush and Walker. Bush scored just 12 percent in the new poll and Walker netted 11, while none of the other candidates had more than 6 percent of the vote.
"Republican support for Donald Trump just continues to grow with no clear sense of who his constituency really is," Patrick Murray, director of the poll, said in a statement that accompanied the findings. “This makes it very difficult for his opponents to figure out how to take him on in the upcoming debate” on Thursday night in Cleveland.
While many of Trump’s positions have been off the wall or poorly defined (such as how he would get the Mexican government to pay for a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border), many of the GOP respondents in the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll said they were more concerned about whether a candidate is a strong leader than if he shared their views.
Since the previous NBC/Wall Street Journal poll in June – when Trump barely registered with 1 percent – Republicans have begun to warm up to him, even if he is not their first choice. According to the new poll, the percentage of Republican voters who said they would pick Trump as their second choice ticked up from 3 percent in June to 11 percent in the latest survey, which was conducted July 26 to 30.
Perhaps even more revealing, Trump does slightly better among Republican women than do other candidates. Twenty-percent of female Republican primary voters name him as their first choice, followed by 16 percent who prefer Bush.
"There is broad support for Trump in the [Republican] Party,” Wall Street Journal Washington bureau chief Jerry Seib said yesterday on NBC’s “Meet The Press” program. “It is men, it is women, it is not just angry white males, which is the caricature."