WASHINGTON (AP) — He's not the Republican Party's most well-liked candidate, nor the one who is considered the most compassionate or likable. But Republican voters consider Donald Trump their most decisive and competent candidate, and the one who best represents them on the issues, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll.
Here are some things to know about what the new poll reveals about how Republicans feels about their White House candidates:
Nearly two-thirds of registered Republican voters say Trump represents their positions on the issues very or somewhat well, putting him at the top of the field on that measure.
The billionaire is viewed as a possible general election winner by 86 percent of Republican voters, giving him a 15 percentage point advantage over his nearest rival. And 78 percent consider him somewhat or very decisive, a 21-point margin over Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. Sixty-three percent say he's competent and 62 percent consider him inspiring, also more than say so of any other candidate. Fifty-five percent say he's honest, putting him near the top of the field on that measure, too.
Nearly 6 in 10 registered Republican voters — 58 percent — say they have a favorable opinion of Trump. Still, he has relatively high negative ratings within his party, with 40 percent of Republican voters saying they have an unfavorable opinion of him. Trump and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush are nearly tied as the candidates with the highest unfavorable ratings within their own party.
Just 42 percent consider Trump likable and 32 percent consider him compassionate.
Seven in 10 Republican voters say they would at least consider voting for Trump in a general election, a near-tie with Cruz and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio on that measure. Among all registered voters, 54 percent say they definitely would not vote for Trump.
Fifty-seven percent of Republicans think the media is biased against Trump, more than say so of any other candidate.
Rubio is the candidate with the widest margin between his favorable and unfavorable ratings within the party, as he's given positive ratings by 62 percent of Republican voters and negative ones by just 23 percent. Only Ben Carson, whose popularity hasn't translated into votes so far, comes close, with a 59 percent to 28 percent favorable rating.
Rubio is viewed as the most likable in the field, by a 61 percent to 45 percent margin over his nearest rival. And he's viewed as at least somewhat compassionate by 57 percent, also tops in the field. Fifty-eight percent consider him honest, which is also highest among the candidates, though Donald Trump comes close. Two-thirds think Rubio could win a general election.
But the measures where Rubio performs best are considered less important by Republican voters. Competence, feeling represented on the issues, decisiveness and honesty are rated as very or extremely important in a candidate by more than 9 in 10 Republicans. But just 6 in 10 say so of compassion and just half of likability.
Cruz isn't the leader among Republicans on any measure of the candidates' strengths, but he's among the top three on most of them. He comes close to Trump on being considered by Republican voters to represent their positions on the issues and is second to Trump on being considered decisiveness and competent.
Fifty-six percent of Republican voters have a favorable opinion of Cruz, while 33 percent have an unfavorable opinion. Seven in 10 think he could win a general election, also placing him second to Trump.
Just half of Republican voters say they have a favorable opinion of Bush, while 4 in 10 have an unfavorable opinion. That's the smallest difference between favorable and unfavorable opinions of any of the remaining candidates in the Republican field. Perhaps worse for Bush, just 40 percent think he could win a general election.
Less than half say Bush represents their positions on the issues, and the 25 percent who call him inspiring is the lowest in the field.
More Republican voters like than dislike Ohio Gov. John Kasich, by a 43 percent to 19 percent margin. But more than a third of Republican voters nationally say they still don't know enough about Kasich to rate him.
Among all voters, nearly half don't know enough about Kasich to have an opinion.
The AP-GfK Poll of 1,033 adults was conducted online Feb. 11-15, using a sample drawn from GfK's probability-based KnowledgePanel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.
Respondents were first selected randomly using telephone or mail survey methods, and later interviewed online. People selected for KnowledgePanel who didn't otherwise have access to the Internet were provided access at no cost to them.