One of the defining characteristics of Donald Trump’s support in early polls of the Republican presidential race is that he transcends the party’s usual ideological boundaries. But his backing tracks other fault lines that reflect the party’s shifting center of gravity—and create starkly different challenges for the rivals now trailing the mercurial businessman in the polls. In particular, Trump in recent polls is displaying striking strength among the party’s growing ranks of working-class voters without four-year college degrees.
The billionaire developer is building a blue-collar foundation.
Trump displayed significant stability across ideological lines in three recent surveys: a Quinnipiac University national poll of potential Republican voters in late August and the NBC/Marist Polls of GOP voters in Iowa and New Hampshire released on Sunday.
In the Quinnipiac survey, Trump drew support nationally from 31 percent of likely Republican voters who described themselves as moderate or liberal, 26 percent who called themselves somewhat conservative, and 25 percent who identified as very conservative. The NBC/Marist Polls divided voters only between moderates and conservatives; Trump’s showing in both Iowa (28 percent among moderates, 26 percent among conservatives) and New Hampshire (29 percent moderates, 27 percent moderate conservatives) was virtually identical across both groups. (The national CNN/ORC Poll released Thursday morning also showed Trump attracting exactly equal 32 percent support from moderates and conservatives, enough to comfortably lead the field.)