If you think Donald Trump can’t win the Republican nomination because of his favorability rating among Republican voters, you might want to think again.
When Trump first entered the Republican race, his net favorability among Republicans was indeed terrible.
“Taking into account name recognition, Trump’s net favorability rating (favorable minus unfavorable) of -32 percentage points stands out for its pure terribleness at this point in the campaign,” FiveThirtyEight.com data journalist Harry Enten wrote at the time Trump announced his bid in June. “Like his unfavorable rating, it is by far the worst of the 106 presidential candidates since 1980 who are in our database.”
Enten went on to predict: “For this reason alone, Trump has a better chance of cameoing in another ‘Home Alone’ movie with Macaulay Culkin — or playing in the NBA Finals — than winning the Republican nomination.”
Oh, how have things changed. In fact, Trump now has a net favorability rating among GOP voters very similar to what Mitt Romney had at the same point in the 2012 presidential cycle.
A CBS poll of Republican primary voters, released Sunday, showed Trump with a positive net favorability 24 percentage points:
A Public Policy Polling (PPP) survey from early October pegged Trump with a positive net favorability slightly lower, at plus 12 percentage points:
These are very similar numbers to what Romney had in October 2011.
A mid-October 2011 AP/GfK poll showed the former Massachusetts governor with a positive net favorability of 12 percentage points:
A PPP survey from early October 2011 showed Romney with a positive net favorability among Republicans of 24 percentage points:
So it’s quite possible — even likely — that Trump won’t win the Republican nomination. But his favorability rating among Republican voters doesn’t currently seem to be a major obstacle in his path at the moment.