Am I really going to belabor the point that Donald Trump's political standing is uniquely weak against Hillary Clinton in a general election match-up? You bet. It's highly relevant information, with crucial tests right around the corner in the GOP nominating process. Republican voters are understandably repulsed by the idea of a Hillary presidency, which would likely carry with it a Democratic Senate and a slate of Supreme Court picks. A Hillary-shaped SCOTUS would salivate over opportunities to overturn precedents in order to restrict political speech (Citizens United), define down religious liberty (Hobby Lobby), and constrict Second Amendment protections (Heller, McDonald). Bearing in mind that virtually every single voter in America already knows and holds opinions about both Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Trump, please consider the latest national polls pitting the two frontrunners against each other. The flawed, unlikable, eminently beatable Democrat wallops her longtime donor in surveys released by WaPo/ABC News and NBC/WSJ:
WaPo/ABC poll: Hillary leads Trump by 18 points among adults, she's up 9 w/ registered voters. https://t.co/MT0zDfUUyM— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) March 9, 2016
NBC/WSJ poll GOP vs. Hillary:— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) March 9, 2016
Cruz trails narrowly (-2)
...Trump losing by 13 points. https://t.co/y7s50uhUi6
He's running at least as poorly as Mitt Romney among non-white voters, and is poised to perform worse than 2012's losing Republican nominee with women, young voters and independents (Romney narrowly carried indies; Trump trails Hillary by nine points within that demographic). Also, he's virtually guaranteed to lose a larger share of the self-identified Republican vote than Romney did, with a sizable contingent of conservative voters adamantly opposed to his candidacy. And while it's true that Donald Trump is bringing new voters into the Republican fold and is attracting a significant number of registered Democrats to his cause (Ramesh Ponnuru is out with a thoughtful piece about the media misunderstanding Trump supporters), he's getting swamped elsewhere, and there's evidence that Trump's presence in the race is also mobilizing other new voters:
Donald J. Trump’s harsh campaign language against Mexican immigrants has helped him win a substantial delegate lead in the Republican primaries, but it is also mobilizing a different set of likely voters — six in the family of Hortensia Villegas alone. A legal immigrant from Mexico, Ms. Villegas is a mother of two who has been living in the United States for nearly a decade but never felt compelled to become a citizen. But as Mr. Trump has surged toward the Republican nomination, Ms. Villegas — along with her sister, her parents and her husband’s parents — has joined a rush by many Latino immigrants to naturalize in time to vote in November. “I want to vote so Donald Trump won’t win,” said Ms. Villegas, 32, one of several hundred legal residents, mostly Mexicans, who crowded one recent Saturday into a Denver union hall. Volunteers helped them fill out applications for citizenship, which this year are taking about five months for federal officials to approve. “He doesn’t like us,” she said.
These are legal immigrants who have never felt moved to vote -- until now, for one reason alone: Beating Trump. If Trump's head-to-head deficit against Hillary isn't persuasive, go back and read my post about his gruesome "fundamentals" on candidate characteristic measures. The Washington Post poll showed him more than 40 points underwater on trustworthiness (reminder: he lies about even the smallest things), empathy, experience, and temperament. The survey pegged his favorable/unfavorable rating at a catastrophic (-37). NBC's numbers put it at (-39). More details:
[The survey] shows how politically radioactive Trump is, especially outside the universe of GOP primary voters. Sixty-one percent of all voters say Trump represents something that is harmful to the Republican Party, versus 27 percent who believe he represents something positive for the GOP...Asked what kind of change a Trump presidency would bring, just 27 percent said it would bring the right kind of change, and 52 percent said it would bring the wrong kind of change; 18 percent said it wouldn't bring much change either way. (By contrast, 25 percent said a Hillary Clinton presidency would bring the right kind of change, 29 percent the wrong kind of change and 45 percent no change either way.)...The NBC/WSJ poll also shows that Trump is, by far, the most unpopular figure measured in the survey, especially among those still running in the 2016 field. Twenty-five percent of all voters have a positive opinion of Trump, versus 64 percent who have a negative opinion (-39) — down from his -31 score last month.
Sure, if Trump emerges as the Republican nominee, his negatives among GOP voters will drop and his standing against Clinton will inch up. But that's when the billion-plus-dollar Democrat attack machine will go to work on him. The Republican field has generally avoided brutal attacks on Trump because his rivals have an incentive to try to keep his supporters in the mix. Democrats will take the gloves off against him with abandon -- and a good number of conservatives will have no interest in defending him. While it's unwise to say 'never' (Hillary Clinton is deeply unlikable and may yet get indicted, plus one never knows how a major world event could shift things), Donald Trump's polling profile adds up to one inescapable conclusion: He would lose a general election to Hillary Clinton, probably badly. With so much at stake in the country, conservative-minded voters -- even those who may be inclined to support him -- cannot afford a Trump nomination. I'll leave you with a few data points. Remember them the next time Trump boasts about how "easy" it will be for him to defeat Mrs. Clinton in the fall:
There is actually no precedent for a national candidate as broadly unpopular as Trump. https://t.co/5KRwayJYwD— Dan McLaughlin (@baseballcrank) March 10, 2016
It's going to be so "easy" for Trump to beat Hillary. RCP averages vs HRC:— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) March 10, 2016
Trump -6 pic.twitter.com/cmS1g1mMBU