By Eli Yokley
May 10, 2016 at 5:30 am ET
Nearly half of American voters say they are less likely to support candidates for public office if they say they back Donald Trump, the Republican Party’s presumptive nominee.
The poll – conducted by Morning Consult during the past weekend – comes as Democrats have tried to tie Republicans running in competitive races up and down the ballot to the party’s controversial standard bearer.
If a candidate running for elected office said they support Trump, 38 percent of voters said they were “much less likely” to support them and 11 percent said they were “somewhat less likely.” Among those who identified as independents, roughly one-third (34 percent) said they were much less likely to support a Trump-backing candidate, while 40 percent said they were more likely to support a candidate who opposed him.
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Twenty-nine percent of all voters said they were “much more likely” to support a candidate if they said they opposed Trump, and 20 percent said they were somewhat more likely.
Support for Trump’s candidacy is particularly troubling for women. Almost half of the 522 women polled (43 percent) said they would be much less likely to vote for a candidate who backs Trump, and 20 percent of Republican women said supporting Trump would also make them less likely to vote for a candidate.
Trump’s rise has placed a number of vulnerable Republicans in awkward spots when they have been asked about their views. New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte, for example, played a game of semantics last week when her campaign said she would support, but not endorse, Trump’s candidacy.
Sen. John McCain, a former Republican presidential nominee who is facing his own tough re-election fight this fall, was more direct.
“If Donald Trump is at the top of the ticket, here in Arizona, with over 30 percent of the vote being the Hispanic vote, no doubt that this may be the race of my life,” he told donors, according to audio obtained by Politico.
Voter concern with Trump is not limited to the Republican Party’s candidates. Forty-one percent of respondents said Trump’s status as the likely Republican nominee gives them a much less favorable view of the party as a whole. And 59 percent of women said Trump’s nomination would give them a much less favorable view of the party. Trump’s effect on Hispanic voters is relatively muted by comparison: 41 percent of Hispanics said they had a less favorable view of the party.
On the Democratic side of the race, half of voters think Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders should stay in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, according to the same survey. Fifty-three percent of all voters said Sanders should buck the calls from some in the Democratic establishment to drop his bid, compared to just a third who said he should end his campaign.
Support for Sanders was strongest among voters ages 18-29 (63 percent) and those who identified as students (67 percent).
The numbers hardly varied by party. According to the poll, 53 percent of Democrats, 54 percent of independents and 51 percent of Republicans said he should continue his challenge to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Eli Yokley is a senior data reporter at Morning Consult covering politics and campaigns. @eyokley