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Eye On Candidates
July 11, 2016

‘Blame’ for Trump assigned

It may seem too early be be figuring out who is to "blame" for Donald Trump's nomination as the GOP standard-bearer (for starters, he hasn't actually been nominated yet, and second, he could yet go on to pull off what seems now would be a surprise victory in November). But Charlie Cook, a well-regarded political analyst, has opted to get a jump on things in this morning's National Journal:

Republicans Have Only Themselves to Blame for Trump

The truth is that Re­pub­lic­ans were not in a mood to nom­in­ate Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, John Kasich, Marco Ru­bio, or any oth­er es­tab­lish­ment-ori­ented can­did­ate. They also des­pised Ted Cruz so he would nev­er do. None of the oth­er al­tern­at­ives meas­ured up. They were so angry with the gov­ern­ment that they wanted to fire a shot­gun blast at Wash­ing­ton. They ended up shoot­ing them­selves in the foot. They got Don­ald Trump and a gimpy party.

In oth­er words, Re­pub­lic­ans thought send­ing a mes­sage was more im­port­ant than beat­ing Hil­lary Clin­ton and tak­ing back the White House. So I guess Clin­ton and the White House wer­en’t im­port­ant enough for them to dial back their lofty prin­ciples. The per­fect was in­deed the en­emy of the good.

A na­tion­al on­line sur­vey of re­gistered voters, drawn from a lar­ger sample of 11,705 by Sur­vey Mon­key con­duc­ted June 27 to Ju­ly 3, found that Clin­ton led Trump by 5 points, 48 to 43 per­cent, which was pretty much in line with most oth­er re­cent polls. But when matched against Mitt Rom­ney, the two were tied at 45 per­cent. House Speak­er Paul Ry­an edged Clin­ton by 2 points, 47 to 45 per­cent, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich bested her by 8 points, 50 to 42 per­cent. The poll found that while Trump pretty much pulled to­geth­er the Re­pub­lic­an vote, he was at a dis­tinct dis­ad­vant­age among pure in­de­pend­ents and Demo­crat­ic-lean­ing in­de­pend­ents, groups that were happy with Kasich and sat­is­fied with the oth­ers.

We are now start­ing to see Clin­ton widen her lead over Trump. The Pew Re­search Cen­ter con­duc­ted its first gen­er­al-elec­tion poll between June 15-26. In a sur­vey of 2,245 voters, Pew found Clin­ton lead­ing by 9 points, 51 to 42 per­cent. In­ter­est­ingly, 55 per­cent of Trump sup­port­ers con­ceded that they were vot­ing against Clin­ton, not for Trump, with just 41 per­cent ac­tu­ally sup­port­ing the Re­pub­lic­an. As for Clin­ton, 50 per­cent of her back­ers said they were cast­ing a vote for her, but nearly as many (48 per­cent) said they were vot­ing against Trump. A Demo­cracy Corps na­tion­al sur­vey con­duc­ted June 23-28 among 900 likely voters by Demo­crat­ic poll­ster Stan Green­berg found Clin­ton with an 11-point ad­vant­age, 48 to 37 per­cent, with a typ­ic­al Demo­crat­ic can­did­ate for the House hold­ing an 8-point ad­vant­age, 49 to 41 per­cent (the can­did­ate names and parties are in­dic­ated to the in­ter­viewee when known, oth­er­wise just the party is giv­en).

Cook himself notes that the election is still four months away, and anything can happen. But at the moment his analysis is worth considering.