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Trump Change: GOP Voters Still Have High Expectations for Trump Win

Friday, February 19, 2016

Donald Trump’s criticism of the last Republican president has done little to blunt expectations among GOP voters that he will be their party’s presidential nominee in the fall.

The latest Rasmussen Reports weekly Trump Change national survey finds that 71% of Likely Republican Voters still believe the billionaire businessman will win the GOP nomination, with 36% who say it is Very Likely. That compares to 74% and 40% a week ago, both highs to date. 

Twenty-four percent (24%) think Trump is unlikely to be nominated, but that includes only nine percent (9%) who say it’s Not At All Likely. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Among all likely voters, 58% feel Trump is the likely Republican nominee, with 25% who consider it Very Likely. This is little changed from last week. A high of 63% voters said three weeks ago that Trump is likely to win the nomination. Thirty-seven percent (37%) say a Trump nomination is unlikely, including 15% who believe it to be Not At All Likely.

Tomorrow’s South Carolina Republican primary will go a long way toward determining whether Trump is the eventual nominee: A big win could almost guarantee it, but a close race or a loss could change perceptions dramatically. When Trump announced his candidacy in mid-June of last year, just 27% of Republicans – and 23% of all voters – said he was likely to end up as the 2016 GOP nominee.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on February 17-18, 2016 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Jeb Bush is counting on an appearance by his brother, former President George W. Bush, to boost his chances in the South Carolina primary. In response, Trump has stepped up his criticism of former President Bush and the Iraq war. Just 34% of Likely Republican Voters now consider it a positive description if a candidate is described as being like George W. Bush, down from 48% in April of last year. he likeliest to expect Trump to win.

Whites are more likely to believe Trump will win the nomination than blacks and other minority voters are.

Forty-nine percent (49%) of Democrats and 55% of voters not affiliated with either major political party think Trump is likely to be nominated.

Conservatives and moderates like Trump’s chances far more than liberals do.

Despite a near-tie in Iowa and a big loss in the New Hampshire primary to Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton is still seen by most Democrats as likely to win their party’s presidential nomination.

When it comes to which candidate voters trust more on key issues, Trump leads when it comes to the economy, job creation and immigration. Clinton has held her lead on social issues but has widened her advantage on the environment. The two are virtually tied now when voters are asked whom they trust more to handle national security.

Rasmussen Reports’ last national survey of the Republican race – during the week between the Iowa caucus and the New Hampshire primary earlier this month – found Trump still ahead with 32% support among GOP voters, followed by Senator Marco Rubio with 21% and Senator Ted Cruz at 20%. 

Republican voters are more likely to consider Trump a moderate than a conservative.

Will special interest money buy Jeb Bush the nomination that voters seem unwilling to give him?

Additional information from this survey and a full demographic breakdown are available to Platinum Members only.

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