President Donald Trump likes to boast that he is the most popular Republican president among Republicans that has ever existed.
“How do you impeach a president who has won perhaps the greatest election of all time, done nothing wrong (no Collusion with Russia, it was the Dems that Colluded), had the most successful first two years of any president, and is the most popular Republican in party history 93%?” he tweeted earlier this month.
That may be changing, at least according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll that shows 1 in 3 Republican and Republican-leaning voters would like the GOP to nominate “someone other” than Trump in 2020.
That’s a BIG number — and speaks to the fact that there remains, at least in the broader Republican Party, a significant pocket of people who have simply never come around on Trump. People who don’t believe that he represents the present or future of the GOP and are in search of some sort of alternative to him in 2020.
Who are these people? Largely who you would expect. Among those identifying as “liberal/moderate” Republicans, 49% want Trump to be renominated, while 48% want some other candidate to be the 2020 nominee. Among “very conservative” Republicans, 85% want to see Trump renominated while just 11% prefer another candidate. Overall, “conservatives” are more likely to want Trump to be renominated (74% Trump/23% someone else) than Republicans more broadly (65% Trump/32% someone else).
This Post-ABC poll comes at a very interesting moment in both Trump’s presidency and the broader debate about the future direction of the Republican Party.
The vast majority of recent polling suggests that the just-ended 35-day government shutdown did damage to Trump’s already not-so-good job approval ratings. In the Post poll, just 37% approved of the job Trump is doing. That’s broadly consistent with the 41.6% average approval rating for Trump in Real Clear Politics’ polling average.
And external events continue to cloud Trump’s political future. The arrest of his longtime associate Roger Stone on Friday and the expected release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report sometime in the next few months have served to highlight Trump’s very real weaknesses heading into 2020.