GOP worries about turnout if Donald Trump’s not the nominee: Donald Trump is way ahead in every Republican poll. But after his fourth indictment, Republicans are worried about big trouble in 2024 if Trump is for some reason not on the ballot
Donald Trump and the Turnout Issue for 2024
Donald Trump is ahead, by a wide margin, in every major poll of the 2024 Republican contest, and each of his indictments only seems to make his support stronger.
It’s very clear what the Republican electorate wants, and it’s Trump- and certainly not the candidates who are specifically running against Trump.
The latest Morning Consult tracking poll, released Tuesday morning has Trump leading with 57 percent support, followed by Gov. Ron DeSantis with 16 percent, businessman Vivek Ramaswamy with 9 percent, former Vice President Mike Pence with 7 percent, and Nikki Halley, Chris Christie and Tim Scott with 3 percent each. Three other candidates — former Gov. Asa Hutchinson, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, and Miami Mayor Francis Suarez — have 1 percent in the poll.
In head-to-head matchups, per the Morning Consult poll, Biden leads Trump by 2 percent and DeSantis by 6 percent. The RealClearPolitics average, as of Tuesday, has Biden winning by 0.7 percent in head-to-head matchups with Trump, with the last few polls either tied or showing Biden ahead by 1 point or so, with the exception of the Messenger/Harris X poll in late July, which had Trump leading Biden by four points.
Those polls were taken prior to the news, Monday night, that Trump had been indicted again, this time in Georgia in connection with his election-overturning efforts in that state. But past indictments of the ex-president have, if anything, improved Trump’s standing in the polls so far.
So Trump, it appears, has a huge lead, and the indictments aren’t stopping that from being the case. But at the same time, the indictments make it more possible that Trump might actually be convicted of a crime before the election, and if that happens, he may not be able to run for or serve as president.
And that scenario, according to a new report, has some in the GOP worried.
According to The Hill, Republicans are worried about a “turnout disaster,” in the event that Donald Trump is for some reason not the nominee.
“The conventional wisdom is there’s concern that if Trump’s not the nominee, his coalition will take their ball and go home,” Matt Dole, a Republican strategist based in Ohio, told The Hill, in reference to the estimated 25 to 35 percent of the Republican base who are hardcore Trump supporters. “Folks are interested in how that plays out, and so I think right now, they would be happy if Trump’s the nominee — in Ohio, it’s not true across the country — because then his coalition will turn out in November.”
“If somehow he’s not the nominee, it will hurt turnout,” he said. “He’s got a unique coalition. He brings a lot of nontraditional voters to the Republican Party, and it will be difficult to win a state like Ohio,” Republican strategist Brian Darling told the publication. “If you lose all those Trump voters or make them disaffected voters, and they don’t show up.”
Bob Clegg, an Ohio-based GOP strategist, told The Hill that “either Trump’s the nominee and we just go with it and whatever, or Trump’s not the nominee and then we have a nominee that Trump’s going to be trashing.”
Ohio strategists also told The Hill that in elections in which Donald Trump is not on the ballot, such as the referendum in that state last week that went against the GOP, the party has trouble meeting turnout targets.
“What it says about the electorate more than anything is that without a presidential candidate — particularly Trump at the top of the ticket — rural voters do not turn out at the same rate,” an anonymous strategist told The Hill.
Author Expertise and Experience
Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.
From the Vault