Poll: Republicans view Trump as most electable


Associated Press

WASHINGTON

Republican voters view Donald Trump as their strongest general election candidate, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll that highlights the sharp contrast between the party’s voters and its top professionals regarding the billionaire businessman’s ultimate political strength.

Seven in 10 Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters say Trump could win in November 2016 if he is nominated, and that’s the most who say so of any candidate.

By comparison, 6 in 10 say the same for retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who, like Trump, has tapped into the powerful wave of antiestablishment anger defining the early phases of the 2016 contest.

“It’s the lifelong establishment politicians on both sides that rub me the wrong way,” said registered Republican Joe Selig, a 60-year-old carpenter from Vallejo, Calif.. “I think Trump is more electable. He’s strong. We need strength these days.”

Trump and Carson are considered among the least-electable general-election candidates by the Republican Party’s professionals, those who are in the business of helping candidates run campaigns and win elections.

Experienced political strategists note that winning a general election and winning the Republican nomination are often very different tasks.

The GOP’s most-conservative voters – a group that is older and whiter than the nation as a whole – wield extraordinary influence in picking the nominee.

Independents, moderate voters and minorities are far more important in general elections that draw many more people to the polls.

Though Trump and Carson are popular in primary election polls, both have used divisive rhetoric in recent months that alienated some minorities.

The AP-GfK Poll of 1,027 adults was conducted online from Oct. 15-19, using a sample drawn from GfK’s probability-based KnowledgePanel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 3.3 percentage points.