POLITICS

Most Republicans Don't Want To See GOP Criticism Of Trump

The "never Trump" faction of the GOP remains a distinct minority.

Most Republicans don’t want to see President Donald Trump criticized by other party leaders, HuffPost/YouGov polling finds.

The precise level to which Trump now dominates the GOP depends on which group you look at. The voters who backed him in 2016, perhaps unsurprisingly, are more uniformly loyal than the pool of Americans who identify either as Republicans or as Republican-leaning independents. But, in any case, it’s clear that Trump has consolidated the party broadly, if not universally, behind him.

A 61 percent majority of Trump voters consider it a bad thing for Republican members of Congress to openly criticize the president when they disagree with him. Just 9 percent say it’s a good thing for the party, with the other 30 percent neutral or unsure. That sentiment also finds support among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, albeit by a somewhat smaller margin ― 54 percent say it’s a bad thing and 14 percent that it’s a good thing.

The results show at most only modest movement since October 2017, when a HuffPost/YouGov poll found that found that 65 percent of Trump voters and 60 percent of Republicans and Republican leaners considered GOP criticism of Trump to be bad for the party.

Many don’t see any conflict in supporting both the president and his party. About 6 in 10 Trump voters, and an equal percentage of Republicans and Republican leaners, say they consider themselves supporters both of Trump and the GOP. (In a sign of how niche “never Trumpers” remain in the GOP, the sample size of Republicans who say they’re supporters of the party but not the president is too small to report on in more detail.) 

Most on the right also see relatively little distance between the party’s factions in Washington at the moment. A 57 percent majority of Trump voters believe that most or all of the congressional GOP supports Trump. By contrast, at the peak of infighting between Congress and the White House in 2017, just 42 percent said the same.

If pushed to choose whom they’d be more likely to support in a political discussion between Trump and congressional Republicans, Trump voters currently say by a 64-percentage-point margin that they’d be more likely to back the president. Republicans and Republican leaners say the same by a 46-point margin.

The poll was taken at the beginning of the month, just after Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) lambasted the president in an editorial, saying Trump’s “conduct over the past two years, particularly his actions this month, is evidence that the president has not risen to the mantle of the office.” Trump responded with a tweet calling on Romney to “be happy for all Republicans” and to be “a TEAM player & WIN!”

Seventy-nine percent of Trump voters disagree with Romney’s comment, and 89 percent agree with Trump’s rebuttal. Among Republicans and Republican leaners, 70 percent disagree with Romney and agree with Trump. Trump voters say, 86 percent to 8 percent, that they’d prefer Trump over Romney as president; Republicans and Republican leaners say the same, 80 to 12 percent.

The episode is unlikely to have many negative political ramifications for Romney in Utah: According to Associated Press polling, nearly two-thirds of the state’s voters want to see Romney stand up to the president.

But nationally the spat resulted, at least temporarily, in an odd political realignment. In the aftermath of those comments, 63 percent of Trump voters now say they have an unfavorable view of the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, outnumbering the 48 percent of the 2016 Hillary Clinton voters who currently say the same.

The HuffPost/YouGov poll consisted of 1,000 completed interviews conducted Jan. 2-3 among U.S. adults, using a sample selected from YouGov’s opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population.

HuffPost has teamed up with YouGov to conduct daily opinion polls. You can learn more about this project and take part in YouGov’s nationally representative opinion polling. More details on the polls’ methodology are available here.

Most surveys report a margin of error that represents some, but not all, potential survey errors. YouGov’s reports include a model-based margin of error, which rests on a specific set of statistical assumptions about the selected sample rather than the standard methodology for random probability sampling. If these assumptions are wrong, the model-based margin of error may also be inaccurate. Click here for a more detailed explanation of the model-based margin of error.

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