Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump is wildly controversial on both sides of the aisle, but poll results released on Dec. 8 by USA Today and Suffolk University show that his supporter base wouldn’t abandon him if he left the Republican Party.
Although there’s long been speculation that Trump would run as an independent candidate and he has been repeatedly slammed by well-established members of the GOP, 68 percent of Trump’s supporters said they would continue supporting him if he left the Republican Party. Just 18 percent of respondents said they wouldn’t continue supporting Trump, and the rest were undecided.
The poll may be reassuring for Trump, who flouted the results on Twitter, but the findings are something of a mixed blessing for the GOP. On one hand, Trump could take enough of the votes on his own to force it out of the running for the White House. On the other hand, it could resolve the schism within the party that’s developed as a result of Trump’s status as its front-runner.
Trump has received little in the way of establishment support, which became more apparent in the aftermath of his Dec. 7 proposal that the U.S. bar all Muslim immigrants -- including refugees. The poll was taken Dec. 2-6, before Trump's most recent comments, notes USA Today.
"This is not conservatism,” House Speaker Paul Ryan said of Trump’s remarks during a Dec. 8 speech, according to NBC News. "What was proposed yesterday is not what this party stands for and, more importantly, it's not what this country stands for."