POLITICS
09/20/2016 02:00 pm ET Updated Jan 05, 2017

Republican Voters Are Unifying Behind Donald Trump

The GOP and Democratic nominees now have about the same amount of support within their respective parties.
Donald Trump has gained greater support among GOP voters in recent weeks. 
Joe Raedle via Getty Images
Donald Trump has gained greater support among GOP voters in recent weeks. 

Republican support for Donald Trump is at an all-time high, with GOP voters now just as unified behind Trump as Democrats are behind Hillary Clinton, according to the HuffPost Pollster polling average.

Polls have shown a tightening race in recent weeks, leaving Democrats on edge and concerned that Clinton is losing the comfortable lead she held over the summer.

There’s data to back up Democrats’ hand-wringing. Republican voters who had previously withheld their support for Trump have come around recently. Trump has managed to gain 6 percentage points among Republicans since mid-August, and he’s on an upward trend, according to the HuffPost Pollster chart.

This increased support could be due in part to the fact that Americans have been reading and hearing less about Trump in the news over the past few weeks, according to a Gallup poll. University of Virginia political scientists Larry Sabato, Kyle Kondik and Geoffrey Skelley have found empirical evidence to suggest a relationship between media coverage and voter support.  

“[T]here appears to be at least a little bit of an inverse relationship between the relative level of coverage of Trump on the campaign trail and his polling margin. The more coverage, the worse his margin is, and vice versa,” they wrote last week.

The researchers found that this correlation was particularly strong between mid-August and mid-September, suggesting that Trump’s improved performance in polls could be attributed to less negative news coverage of the candidate.

Clinton has typically enjoyed an advantage against Trump in the polls, partly because she pulled a greater portion of her party’s vote than Trump did. And her support among Democrats has been relatively stable throughout the general election.

But the former reality TV star has finally caught up to her. Trump is now pulling 83 percent of the Republican vote, the same level of support that Clinton has among Democrats. 

Alissa Scheller

And with just 48 days left until the election, polls are becoming more stable and predictive as more undecided voters make up their minds.

Republicans pulled away from their party’s standard-bearer after the GOP convention ended in July. By mid-August, Trump’s support within his own party had plummeted to 77 percent. He was also dropping in national polls, losing badly in battleground states and even looking vulnerable in historically red states.

But Trump’s fortune seems to have changed since then: He’s trailing Clinton by just 4 points in national polls, and he’s even looking stronger in battleground states

And while Trump is being boosted by Republican voters, he has struggled to broaden his support among other demographics. However, he benefits from Clinton’s recent deficit among young voters who are turning to third-party candidates. Clinton has noticed the problem and made a strong push in recent weeks to win over more millennial voters. If she can address her weakness with young voters in the coming weeks, then she could see a boost in poll numbers.

Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.

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