It's time for another installment of "why Trump is likely to be a general election disaster for Republicans based on the available data." We've already examined the controversial billionaire's uniquely terrible standing on electoral fundamentals like favorability and candidate characteristics, as well as his worst-in-the-GOP-field pairing against Hillary Clinton. Now let's look at his performance among key swing demographics, starting with women, who comprise more than half of the electorate:
[These voters are] part of what you might call Clinton’s coalition of the unwilling. They are the independent and moderate Republican women who don’t like Clinton – some even despise her – but are so repulsed by Trump that they are already preparing to vote for the Democrat they anticipate will be on the ballot in November if that’s what it takes to keep him out of office. Either that, or sit out the election altogether. This loose coalition is large and growing. More Republican women view Trump more negatively than positively, according to Gallup. And in a hypothetical matchup with Clinton, a Washington Post/ABC News poll found this month that Trump loses the women’s vote by 21 points.
A new Reuters poll shows that fully 50 percent of American women hold a "very unfavorable" view of Trump, up ten points since the fall. The survey predicts that Clinton would beat Trump among women by 14 points, while Trump would narrowly carry men. That math portends a decisive loss. And this is the state of play before voters face a barrage of ads like this over the summer and into the fall. Among young voters, Trump is getting trounced:
Opposition to Trump nearly unites the rising generation. In a hypothetical Clinton v. Trump contest in November, voters under 35 would choose Clinton by a crushing 52%-19%, a preference that crosses demographic lines. Among whites, she'd be backed by nearly 2-1, 45%-26%. Among Hispanics, by more than 4-1, 61%-14%. Among Asian Americans, by 5-1, 60%-11%. Among African Americans, by 13-1, 67%-5%. ...Nearly one in four Republicans would defect to the Democrats if the GOP nominated Trump against Clinton. Just 7% of Democrats would defect to the GOP.
As a point of reference, Mitt Romney won 37 percent of the youth vote in 2012, and actually won white Millennials by seven points. Trump has attracted the support of less than one-in-five young voters, is losing white Millennials by 19 points, and causes roughly a quarter of young Republicans to bolt the party. This bloc will be voting in elections for decades to come; nominating Trump could poison the well and do lasting damage to the GOP brand in the eyes of nearly an entire generation. What about Hispanics, a group Trump confidently predicts he'll win in November? Ta da:
One of the most bizarre of all of Trump’s claims is his claim that “the Hispanics love me,” despite his statement that most Mexican immigrants are bad people, his calls for mass-deportation of 11 million undocumented immigrants, and his campaign to build a wall along the border. In fact, a new Gallup poll shows that only 12 percent of U.S. Hispanics have a favorable opinion of Trump, while 77 percent have an unfavorable view of him. By comparison, 59 percent of Hispanics have a favorable view of Democratic hopeful Hillary Clinton. Exit polls in Florida’s Republican primary, which Trump won by a landslide, show that Trump won across the state largely thanks to white Anglo-Saxon voters. But Trump lost in heavily-Hispanic Miami, where the winner was Sen. Marco Rubio. Hispanics made up only 17 percent of Florida’s Republican voters in Tuesday’s primaries. Of that statewide percentage, 52 percent of the vote went for Rubio and only 27 percent for Trump, exit polls show.
Trump's strategy, therefore, appears to be driving up white male turnout and locking down a massive share of that cohort. What could possibly go wrong? Quite a lot, actually. Some uncomfortable facts, via The Daily Beast and Politico:
In 1980, Ronald Reagan won 56 percent of white voters and won a landslide victory of 44 states. In 2012, Mitt Romney won 59 percent of whites and lost with 24 states. But it’s a frequent talking point that white voter enthusiasm was higher for Reagan and turnout down for Romney. Not so. In 1980, 59 percent of whites voted and in 2012, 64 percent of whites voted...The simple truth is that there simply aren’t enough white voters in the America of 2016 to win a national election without also getting a substantial share of the non-white vote. Romney won 17 percent of the non-white vote. Depending on white voter turnout, a Republican needs between 25 percent and 35 percent of the non-white vote to win.
The overwhelming fact about American general elections right now is that white male voters just aren’t as powerful as they used to be. In 1980, when the electorate looked very different than it does today, Ronald Reagan cruised to an easy victory by winning 63 percent of white males, according to exit polls. In 1988, George H.W. Bush took 63 percent of that group in his rout of Michael Dukakis. By 2004, however, winning 62 percent of white men barely got George W. Bush past John Kerry in a squeaker. And eight years later, Romney won 62 percent of white men—and lost to Barack Obama by 3.5 million votes. So what happened? Between Reagan and Romney, the white male share of the total vote had dropped from 45 percent to 35 percent. The two biggest factors: From Reagan to Romney, Hispanics’ share of the national vote soared from 2 percent to 10 percent; and women, post-feminism, jumped from casting 49 percent of all ballots to 53 percent. Winning the same percentage of white men got the party less and less. And those changes have continued. It will get the GOP even less this year.
Some experts estimate that Trump would need to win 70 percent of white males in order to be victorious, meaning that he'd have to heavily overperform Mitt Romney with this group. I'd argue there's a strong chance Trump would, in fact, underperform Romney, especially in light of the robust anti-Trump strain within the conservative movement. Among Republicans who voted for candidates other than Trump on Tuesday, approximately 60 percent said they'd consider a third-party candidate if the two major parties nominate Trump and Clinton. And don't forget that the GOP frontrunner is anathema to independents, a group upon which Republicans rely to win national elections, given Democrats' registration advantage. Romney beat Obama with this group in 2012 by five points, which wasn't nearly enough. Trump's approval rating among independents is 27 points underwater. Trump has an eye-popping 67 percent unfavorable rating with voters overall, badly trailing Hillary Clinton even on her Achilles heel: Trustworthiness. Granted, some of these numbers will improve if and when more Republican-leaning voters begin to rally around Trump, and it's hard to overstate what a terrible candidate Mrs. Clinton is. This has been a cycle full of surprises and nobody can predict how the next seven months will unfold with any degree of certainty. But the statistics recapitulated above strongly suggest that Donald Trump would lose this election for the Republican Party, and could very well get decimated. I discussed these dynamics with Megyn Kelly last night, via Right Sightings: