(WASHINGTON) — For Americans of nearly every race, gender, political persuasion and location, disdain for Donald Trump runs deep, saddling the Republican front-runner with unprecedented unpopularity as he tries to overcome recent campaign setbacks.
Seven in 10 people, including close to half of Republican voters, have an unfavorable view of Trump, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll. It’s an opinion shared by majorities of men and women; young and old; conservatives, moderates and liberals; and whites, Hispanics and blacks — a devastatingly broad indictment of the billionaire businessman.
Even in the South, a region where Trump has won GOP primaries decisively, close to 70 percent view him unfavorably. And among whites without a college education, one of Trump’s most loyal voting blocs, 55 percent have a negative opinion.
Trump still leads the Republican field in delegates and has built a loyal following with a steady share of the Republican primary electorate. But the breadth of his unpopularity raises significant questions about how he could stitch together enough support in the general election to win the White House.
It also underscores the trouble he may still face in the Republican race, which appears headed to a contested convention where party insiders would have their say about who will represent the GOP in the fall campaign.
“He’s at risk of having the nomination denied to him because grass-roots party activists fear he’s so widely disliked that he can’t possible win,” said Ari Fleischer, a former adviser to President George W. Bush.
Beyond their generally negative perception of Trump, large majorities also said they would not describe him as civil, compassionate or likable. On nearly all of these measures, Trump fared worse than his remaining Democratic or Republican rivals.
Not that voters have all that much love for those rivals. But their negative perceptions don’t match the depth of the distaste for Trump. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who is seeking to catch Trump in the Republican delegate count, is viewed unfavorably by 59 percent, while 55 percent have negative views of Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton.