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Republicans More Positive About Trump, But Many Not Pleased

Republicans More Positive About Trump, But Many Not Pleased

Story Highlights

  • Trump's favorable rating among Republicans up to its highest point
  • Trump's image still lags previous GOP nominees at this point
  • Half of Republicans wish there was another nominee, not Trump

PRINCETON, N.J. -- As a number of Republican Party leaders express dissatisfaction with Donald Trump being their party's presumptive nominee, rank-and-file Republicans have become more positive about the billionaire businessman. Over the last seven days, Trump's favorable rating among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents has reached 66%, the highest since Gallup began tracking him nine months ago. His unfavorable rating is at 30%.

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Trump has always been perceived more favorably than unfavorably by Republicans. His ratings were most negative in late February/early March, but in recent weeks, as his nomination has become all but certain, Trump's net favorable image among Republicans has improved steadily.

Trump's image among Republicans, however, is still significantly more negative than that of the last three Republican nominees at about this point in their presidential campaigns. Mitt Romney, John McCain and George W. Bush had coalesced their party's support into a more universally positive image by May or early June of 2012, 2008 and 2000, respectively, with favorable ratings in the 80% range and low unfavorable ratings.

Republican Candidates' Image Among Republicans/Leaners
Candidate Date Favorable% Unfavorable%
Donald Trump May 11-17, 2016 66 30
Mitt Romney May 10-13, 2012 82 13
John McCain May 30-June 1, 2008 84 11
George W. Bush June 6-7, 2000 87 9
Gallup

The fact that Trump has a significantly more negative image than has been the norm for his party's nominees at this point in recent campaigns could partially reflect the time frame of the nomination process. Trump's battle against his competitors, for example, has gone on much longer than Bush's in 2000, who was never seriously challenged that year as his party's presumptive nominee. Similarly, McCain essentially became the presumptive GOP nominee by February 2008. Romney, like Trump, didn't sew up the GOP nomination until late April, but he held an 82% favorable rating among Republicans by mid-May, a contrast to Trump's current 66%.

Another Gallup measure reinforces the conclusion that Trump faces a more difficult than usual challenge in his effort to unite Republicans behind his candidacy. Republicans in May 13-15 interviewing were split down the middle when asked if they are pleased with Trump as their party's nominee, or if they wish it was someone else -- 48% pleased and 50% wishing there was someone else.

Are you generally pleased with the selection of Donald Trump as the Republican nominee, or do you wish someone else was the Republican nominee?
Based on Republicans/leaning Republicans
Generally pleased% Wish someone else was running% No opinion%
May 13-15, 2016 48 50 2
Gallup

There is no history of this measure providing a comparison with previous GOP nominees.

The groups of Republicans most likely to be pleased with Trump as the nominee include those who are older, men, conservatives and those without college degrees -- generally adhering to the profile of those who have held the most favorable view of Trump throughout the primary process.

Are you generally pleased with the selection of Donald Trump as the Republican nominee, or do you wish someone else was the Republican nominee?
Based on Republicans/leaning Republicans
Generally pleased% Wish someone else was running%
AGE
18-34 36 62
35-54 39 59
55+ 59 39
GENDER
Male 50 47
Female 44 55
PARTY ID AND IDEOLOGY
Conservative Republican 53 46
Liberal/Moderate Republican 40 57
EDUCATION
College grad 41 56
Not college grad 50 48
May 13-15, 2016
Gallup

Bottom Line

Trump's image among his fellow Republicans is improving and is now more positive than it has been at any point since the campaign process heated up last summer. But Trump's image is substantially more negative than the images of his predecessors at this point in their campaigns, and half of Republicans say they wish someone else was their party's nominee.

The relative lack of enthusiasm for Trump among his own party may not be his biggest challenge to winning the presidency -- twice as many Americans overall have an unfavorable (60%) as a favorable (34%) opinion of him, reflecting strongly negative views among independents and Democrats. His likely competitor, Hillary Clinton, however, also has a negative image among all Americans, at 39% favorable and 55% unfavorable.

Both Trump and Clinton's next major opportunities to improve voters' perceptions will be their selection of a vice presidential running mate, and then the conventions in July.

These data are available in Gallup Analytics.

Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted May 11-17, 2016, on the Gallup U.S. Daily survey, with a random sample of 1,555 Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, and interviews conducted May 13-15, 2016, with a random sample of 677 Republicans and Republican-leaning independents. For results based on the first sample of Republicans, the margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level, and for the second sample, the margin of sampling error is ±5 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.

Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 60% cellphone respondents and 40% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods.

View complete question responses and trends.

Learn more about how the Gallup U.S. Daily works.

Gallup


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