Rod Dreher points to the findings in the latest NYT/CBS News poll, noting that Trump is tightening his hold on the GOP. 46% support Trump nationally, which is equal to the support for the other two candidates put together. Compared to last month’s survey, Trump has gained 11 points and expanded his lead over Cruz to 20. (A combined 72% of Republican primary voters support candidates loathed by the party leadership.) Trump’s support has continued to grow, which was always likely to happen as he won more contests and more candidates dropped out.
I was struck by the percentage of Republican primary voters that said they wouldn’t support Trump if he became the nominee: 17%. Based on the denunciations from many pundits and politicians on the right, one might think that the majority of Republicans cannot abide the thought of a Trump nomination, but that simply isn’t the case. According to these results, the #NeverTrump crowd accounts for less than a fifth of the Republican Party, but it often presents itself as if it speaks for the majority. So it doesn’t come as a surprise that the poll found that most Republican primary voters don’t think it’s a good idea to use the convention to stop Trump and pick a different nominee. When asked if it would be a good or bad thing for the party if the convention picked someone other than the candidate with the most delegates as the nominee, 14% said it would be good and 65% said it would be bad. Most of the latter are Trump supporters, but that’s the point: Trump supporters make up almost half of the party now, and many supporters of the other candidates aren’t interested in convention maneuvering to install a different candidate at the top of the ticket.
The Republicans committed to stopping Trump at all costs don’t speak for most of the people in their party. If they were somehow to prevail, they would be acting against the wishes of a large majority of Republican voters. That would still be a serious mistake, and one that would haunt the GOP for a lot longer than a Trump nomination.