Nevada entrance polls show that Donald Trump captured every major demographic in the state primary last night. All that is, except one: the ability to win the actual election. That category went to Sen. Rubio, securing 50% as his top quality. What was Trumps percentage of voters who thought he could win? Thirty-Three percent: and that number is up from South Carolina.
According to all primary exit polls conducted there is one glaring continuum among Donald Trump supporters: Their least important candidate quality is the perceived ability to beat Hillary Clinton in November. Only 21% from South Carolina like Trump in the category of electability while 78% like him for “Telling it like it is.” I assume it saddens these voters that an Andrew Dice Clay/Chris Rock presidential ticket never materialized. In some of the polls their least important quality is Trump sharing their values, which begs the question: If you don’t feel your horse can win and you don’t like the horse to begin with, why place the bet?
Having endured four primaries thus far, we the voter have been peppered with an array of stereotypes that make it easier for the media class to categorize, control and quantify a dynamic equation in static terms. As for myself – I hate the labels. If you are a single issue voter, no offense. Everyone is going to do what they can do in this crazy world to get by and maximize their potential, no question.
So when the exit polls, which have used the same pigeonholing over and over again, try to tell us who we are; do we listen or brush it off like so much water cooler gossip? Let’s examine past exit polling results. Electability was the top candidate characteristic for just 6% of GOP SC primary voters in 2008, but 45% in 2012. Yet voter perceptions are not always those of the media or party elites: of those “electability” voters in 2012, 51% voted for Newt Gingrich.
In Iowa 24% of voters liked Trump because they thought he could win in November, compared to 66% opting for his blunt style of orator delivery. Now if he was polling middle of the pack this would make sense; however Trump was and still is the frontrunner. Wouldn’t he get a bigger boost in the ‘electability’ department?
Again, we aren’t talking about a longshot at this point, as Trump has become the man to beat. Trump bragged about winning ‘40% of Hispanics’ but failed to mention that was only 40% among 1/3 of Hispanics who went Republican – as the other 2/3 caucused for Democrats. Voters better start caring about the ability to win, because the dynamics of a general election are a whole lot thornier.