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New National Poll of Republican Presidential Race Shows Donald Trump in Control

Wednesday, February 24, 2016
  • Trump has 37.8% support among Republicans nationally, Cruz has 18.5% and Rubio 14.3%
  • A majority of Republicans, 53.3%, could see themselves supporting him

Pittsburgh, Feb. 25 – With Donald Trump victorious in South Carolina and Nevada, results of a national poll conducted before those electoral contests show the bombastic billionaire is firmly in control of the Republican presidential field.

The poll shows Trump with 37.8 percent support among Republicans nationally.  Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is second at 18.5 percent and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio third at 14.3 percent.

“The idea that Donald Trump has maxed out his support at about a third of Republicans is false,” said RMU political scientist Philip Harold.  “Republicans view him favorably, and can see themselves voting for him.” 

Trump’s favorability rating – the percentage of Republicans who regard him highly despite their own voting choice – registers at 61 percent, second only to Rubio who posted 62.5 percent.

Ted Cruz had 57.9% favorability and Ben Carson 58.7%. 

Among non-Republicans polled, Trump has the highest favorability at 28.8%, with both Cruz and Rubio at 26.6%, and Carson at 25.9%. 

And Trump appears to have moved beyond he realm of a “niche” candidate. Among Republicans polled, 53.3 percent said they could see themselves supporting Trump. Another 18.1 percent of those polled said they “somewhat disagreed” with the idea of supporting Trump, while 23 percent “strongly disagreed.”

Yet, Republicans who say they “Somewhat Disagree” with being able to see themselves supporting Trump have a 46.8% favorable impression of him. 

“There is definitely a group of Republicans who are anti-Trump,” said Harold.  “But our polling suggests it is around one-quarter of Republicans.  That is a high ceiling for Trump to have.” 

Trump was strong among Republicans across demographic groups, while showing particular strength with single male Republicans, those in households with less than $75,000 annual income, and those with less than a college degree. 

The poll also included an open-ended question asking people who said they could see themselves supporting Trump to write why they felt that way.  Respondents could write anything.  The top ten reasons, with a word cloud of the responses, are below: 


  1. Not Politically Correct 15.02%
  2. Not a Regular Politician 14.08%
  3. Successful Businessman  13.14%
  4. Strong Leader  11.73%
  5. Best of All The Other Candidates 10.79%
  6. Share the Same Views 10.32%
  7. Good Personal Traits  7.51%
  8. Will Get Things Done  6.57%
  9. Immigration 6.57%
  10. Loves America  5.63%  

ABOUT THE POLL:  The Poll was conducted by the Robert Morris University Polling Institute.  Polling by the Institute is conducted on a regular basis and may also include spontaneous polling on occurring events.

METHODOLOGY:  The Poll sampled opinions of 1000 approximately proportional to state population contribution nationwide.  The survey was conducted February 11-16, 2016. All surveys were conducted using an online survey instrument. The poll has a +/- 3.0 percent margin of error at a 95 percent confidence level on a composite basis. 

ABOUT ROBERT MORRIS UNIVERSITY: Through 49 undergraduate and 35 graduate degree programs across five academic schools, Robert Morris University (RMU) in Pittsburgh, Pa., works to change its students' lives so that they can go out and change the lives of others for the better. More than 5,000 undergraduate and graduate, nontraditional and online students from 45 states and 41 nations are enrolled at RMU, which sits on 230 scenic acres just 20 minutes from downtown Pittsburgh. Emphasizing experiential learning, Robert Morris focuses on professional development, service learning, global awareness, undergraduate research, campus leadership, and cultural experiences, all of which are documented on our innovative Student Engagement Transcript. More than 100 clubs and organizations help students to develop leadership skills, network professionally, and meet friends. RMU also has 16 NCAA Division I athletic programs, including football, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s ice hockey, and men's and women's lacrosse.