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Are Donald Trump’s voters those saying things are going in the wrong direction? Not really

One of the reasons given for the rise of Donald Trump is the dissatisfaction of the electorate with, well everything. They are looking for someone who will change the status quo and maybe, just maybe, bring them some hope for the future. We can debate until the end of times if Donald Trump is that person. But, let’s take a look at something else – are people dissatisfied with the way things are going in the country? Basically, the short answer is yes, yes they are.

 

Over half of Americans (52%) say things in the country are going down the wrong track today while one-third (33%) say things are going in the right direction and 15% are not at all sure. But, not every group feels the same way. First, there is a partisan and ideological difference. Just over half of Democrats (51%) and Liberals (53%) say things are going in the right direction. On the other side of the aisle things are a little different as seven in ten Republicans (69%) and almost three-quarters of Conservatives (73%) believe things are going down the wrong track. But where do Independents stand? Closer to Republicans – three in five (60%) say things are going down the wrong track and just one-quarter (26%) believe things are going in the right direction. Moderates are a bit more divided – 45% believe things are going down the wrong track and 41% say they are going in the right direction.

 

Those who have more money should believe things are going great, right? Well those with a lower household income are more likely than those with a higher household income to say things are going down the wrong track, but the difference isn’t as large as one might think. Over half of those with a household income of less than $25,000 (55%), between $25,000 and $49,999 (57%) and $50,000-$74,999 (52%) say things are going down the wrong track. But those with a household income of $75,000 or more are very evenly split – 45% say things are going down the wrong track while 44% say things are going in the right direction.

 

Now how does this impact the race for president? Again – have to put in the caveat that this is very early and a lot of this is a beauty contest at this point, not a contest on issues and who people would actually vote for. But those who believe things are going in the right direction or down the wrong track do have different preferences for president.  Regardless of the Republican nominee (when given Bush, Walker or Paul), in a three way race with Trump almost two-thirds of those who say things are going in the right direction would vote for Hillary Clinton (64% against Bush; 67% against Walker; 65% against Paul).

 

But those who say things are going down the wrong track are clearly more divided and, contrary to popular belief, not all going towards Donald Trump. So in one race it is one-quarter for Jeb Bush (25%), almost one-quarter (24%) for Trump and one in five voting for Clinton (20%) with three in ten of those saying things are going down the wrong track (31%) not at all sure. Change GOP nominees and, among those saying things are going down the wrong track in the country, 24% would vote for Trump, 22% would vote for Clinton and 21% would vote for Scott Walker; one-third (33%) are not at all sure. Finally, with Rand Paul in the mix, 26% of those who think things are going down the wrong track would vote for Trump, 23% would vote for Paul and 20% would vote for Clinton with three in ten (30%) not at all sure.

 

So, what does this all mean? Americans have concerns. They’ve had them for quite some time and they are not all that happy with the way things are going in the country. But, will this translate into President Trump? Probably not. Every election has a dissatisfied portion of the electorate and this means that there can be a lot of fluctuation very early in a campaign (remember Michele Bachman and Herman Cain?) and, although it seems like the campaign has been going on for eons already, it is still very early and months before the first votes are cast. Two things can happen. First, the Republican party will coalesce around one of the more establishment candidates and we will have a “typical” election come next year. Second, however, can be a throwback to 1992 with Mr. Trump in the role of Mr. Perot and really speaking to the dissatisfied. At this point, it is just too early to tell what will happen.

 

Methodology:

This online survey was conducted by Regina Corso Consulting between July 20 and 22, 2015 among 2,012 U.S. adults, aged 18 and older. Data was collected by Toluna on behalf of Regina Corso Consulting. Figures for age, gender, education, income, employment and region were weighted to being them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate, no estimates of sampling error can be calculated.

 

Table One

Right Direction versus Wrong Track

“How do you think things are going in the country today?”

All adults

Total Political Party Political Philosophy
GOP Dem Ind. Cons. Mod. Lib.
% % % % % % %
Down the wrong track 52 69 33 60 73 45 31
In the right direction 33 22 51 26 19 41 53
Not at all sure 15 9 16 14 8 15 15

Note: Results may not equal 100% because of rounding

 

Table Two

Right Direction versus Wrong Track – by HH Income

“How do you think things are going in the country today?”

All adults

Total HH Income
Less than $25k $25,000

-$49,999

$50,000 – $74,999 $75k or more
% % % % %
Down the wrong track 52 55 57 52 45
In the right direction 33 28 26 33 44
Not at all sure 15 18 17 15 11

Note: Results may not equal 100% because of rounding

 

Table Three

Clinton/Bush/Trump

“If the election for President were to be held today and these were the candidates for whom would you most likely vote?”

All adults

Total Direction of country
RD WT
% % %
Hillary Clinton 39 64 20
Jeb Bush 19 13 25
Donald Trump 18 12 24
Not at all sure 25 11 31

Note: Results may not equal 100% because of rounding

 

Table Four

Clinton/Walker/Trump

“If the election for President were to be held today and these were the candidates for whom would you most likely vote?”

All adults

Total Direction of country
RD WT
% % %
Hillary Clinton 40 67 22
Donald Trump 18 13 24
Scott Walker 15 9 21
Not at all sure 27 12 33

Note: Results may not equal 100% because of rounding

 

 

Table Five

Clinton/Paul/Trump

“If the election for President were to be held today and these were the candidates for whom would you most likely vote?”

All adults

Total Direction of country
RD WT
% % %
Hillary Clinton 39 65 20
Donald Trump 19 14 26
Rand Paul 17 9 23
Not at all sure 25 11 30

Note: Results may not equal 100% because of rounding

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