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Republican voters on Trump: no compassion, no problem

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Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at the Republican Jewish Coalition Presidential Forum in Washington.

WASHINGTON >> Republican voters don’t think Donald Trump is likable. They don’t think he’s compassionate. And many don’t consider him particularly honest.

But he’s overwhelmingly viewed as decisive and competent. And that’s what matters most — at least for now — to Republicans.

A new Associated Press-GfK poll finds that 8 in 10 Republican registered voters call Trump very or somewhat decisive. That’s top in the field for the businessman, whose blunt style was featured for years on reality TV. At the same time, it finds much resistance to him from the country at large.

The poll was taken before he called for a ban on Muslims coming into the United States and does not reflect the furor that has turned some leading Republican figures, at least, against him.

“I wouldn’t give him a 10 on the compassionate scale,” said poll respondent Lisa Barker, 55, of Worcester, Massachusetts, an unaffiliated voter who says she’s all in for Trump. “I’d probably put him in the middle. But I love the fact that he’s decisive.”

She’s not alone.

After rocketing to the front of the Republican pack in the 2016 race for president, he’s stayed there for months with a brash approach that has captivated a healthy slice of the GOP electorate.

People frustrated with the status quo appear to love his style — even when his policies draw condemnation and his facts are wrong. Trump drew widespread criticism from within his own party and from leaders around the world this week after calling for the ban on Muslim entry to the United States.

In the new national survey, three-quarters of Republicans said Trump would have a chance of winning the general election if nominated, significantly more than say so of any other GOP candidate.

“Donald Trump is saying what 95 percent of the people of this country, that belong to this country, that were born and raised in this country, feel and think,” said 83-year-old J.W. Stepp, a registered Republican who lives in Phoenix, Arizona.

“Donald Trump is exactly what this country needs,” Stepp said. “He’s probably the most decisive person in the race.”

But the AP-GfK poll also offers cause for long-term concern for such Trump loyalists.

Beyond Republicans, 58 percent of all Americans have an unfavorable view of him. That’s the worst favorable rating of any candidate in either party, a reminder that decisiveness alone may not be enough to help Trump prevail in next fall’s general election if he represents the GOP on the ballot.

Yet he appears to be well-positioned in his party’s nomination contest, which begins with the Iowa caucuses in less than eight weeks. The early voting contests tend to feature the GOP’s most passionate voters, a small but vocal group that has been excited about Trump’s candidacy.

While Trump is considered the most decisive of the five GOP candidates tested, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz earned the next highest mark with 56 percent calling him very or somewhat decisive. Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson had 53 percent, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, 52 percent, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, 42 percent.

By contrast, just 31 percent of Republican voters say Trump is at least somewhat compassionate, and 43 percent say he is at least somewhat likable. Carson, who’s been slipping in recent polls, is viewed as most compassionate and likable, with 7 in 10 Republican voters saying each word describes him at least somewhat well.

Unfortunately for Carson, likeability isn’t among the most desired attributes among Republicans in this campaign.

Nine in 10 Republican voters say decisiveness and competence are extremely or very important in a candidate for president in 2016, according to the poll. Just 6 in 10 rate compassion as that important, while only half say it’s important for a candidate to be likable.

Nine in 10 Republican voters also say that honesty is an important quality in a presidential candidate, although they’re split on whether that’s a description that applies to Trump.

Fifty-five percent say “honest” describes him very or somewhat well and 43 percent say it describes him only slightly or not at all. Bush, Rubio and Cruz don’t do much better. Carson, by contrast, is viewed as at least somewhat honest by 66 percent of Republican voters.

Trump has repeatedly made false or dubious assertions, such as his debunked claim to have seen thousands of Muslims in New Jersey cheering the 9/11 attacks. But that doesn’t seem to matter to the Republican electorate, which is deeply skeptical of the media.

Two-thirds of Republican voters believe media coverage is generally biased against Trump, more than say so of the other top candidates. Fifty-four percent say media coverage is biased against Carson, close to half say that about Bush and Cruz, and 40 percent say that about Rubio.

The AP-GfK Poll of 1,007 adults, including 333 Republican and Republican leaning registered voters, was conducted online Dec. 3-7, using a sample drawn from GfK’s probability-based KnowledgePanel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.

23 responses to “Republican voters on Trump: no compassion, no problem”

  1. mikethenovice says:

    Anti Republican, Trump is after the party’s corruption, by exposing the sad truth about them. Good Job!

    • Maipono says:

      Trump will be exposing the corruption of the extremely corrupt Democrat Party next. Obama and Hillary takes corruption to a new level never seen in modern times, and when Trump is done shining the light on the cockroaches in the GOP, there are going to be huge ones he exposes in the Democratic Party, which everyone sees but is being camouflaged by a sympathetic liberal press.

  2. marcus says:

    Whether he wins of loses, ultimately he is good for the party. If you were to quiz all the candidates, Dems & Repubs, about current events, every candidate would show a lack of facts. The “polished” candidates stick to well practiced responses and that is why you don’t catch them in fabrications. Trump just goes for it! You have to read his “sentiment” not just his facts, to like him. When he is surrounded by advisers, he will make alot less mistakes and alot more progress!

    • TigerEye says:

      Right. If you’re going to be ignorant, you should do so with pride and gusto. Then, you should surround yourself with people who know things so you don’t have to. With an attitude like that, you must be an MVP at work.

  3. Maipono says:

    What a lot of people fail to realize is that Trump is a master at manipulating the press, which he is doing right now. He will say inflammatory things to get publicity. His supporters know that, but are voting for his decisiveness and not the headline grabbing statements he makes which are drawing more and more voters to his camp, as events seem to unfold to support his positions.

  4. MoiLee says:

    The Republican Party is imploding? Look at both houses of congress? Even with control of both of the Senate and the House they can’t seem to get things done. In the Senate they can’t get the neceassary 60 votes to pass something or the House,where they have to cut a deal or combine bills with the democrats,and in the end….it still stinks!

    The Republicans today are……. Impotent!
    Now we have… The GOP presidential candidates acting Childish ie:(“Go to Hell” lindsey Graham) and Ohio’s Kasich to mention a few. At this point I would not blame Donald ,if he decides to leave the Republicans behind.
    Yes ! you could say..The Donald does not lack enemies on Both sides of the political spectrum…….this is one of the reasons I like him so much.

    Donald understands the frustrations of the American people. While campaigning A lady in the audience said: “You (Donald) has tapped into the Consciousness of the American people’.Spot On! The crowd went WILD!
    I have encouraged Donald to run as an INDEPENDENT…..Beholding to No, One Party, special pacts ,or some special interest groups…. NO ONE!

    Think about it….Without retaliation ! A president who can reach out to both sides of the Senate and the House of Reps and most importantly Represent “We…..The People”. IMUA

    • RichardCory says:

      “I have encouraged Donald to run as an INDEPENDENT”

      Here’s to hoping he does. It will all but guarantee a victory for the Democratic party. Cheers.

    • berrygood says:

      Amazing how the media loves this story. a ever wonder why? It’s taking a lot of heat away from Hillary and her lying to the Benghazi families and the email deal which she should be behind bars for. I’m sure once Trump and Hillary meet head to head there won’t be any place for her to hide. Even if the media continues to distort every thing that Trump says. This country needs a turnaround CEO. A guy that will get results. Life time politicians could be a thing of the past

      • Boots says:

        Yawn. lol Shame republicans don’t talk about all the lies GW made to get us into this mess. Now there was a liar.

      • kolohepalu says:

        Benghazi? Enough already.Everyone except the most indoctrinated right-wingers/Fox devotees have recognized the investigation as a taxpayer-funded witch-hunt. The focus of the committee is attempting to justify their own existence.

    • MoiLee says:

      Wait a minute! What is this ? Ben Carson also thinking of leaving the Republican Party! Doesn’t like all the (Republican)Trash Talking?
      A Trump & Carson Presidential ticket ?? Wishful thinking? Maybe? anything is possible.

  5. WizardOfMoa says:

    Maybe Americans are starve for a decisive, goon ho person to take control of the helm of our country! Polish politicians are just that. Present themselves what the public want to see and hear but clueless when they are finally in the position to lead our country! Whether the former or the latter is the lesser of disenchantment is up for grabs. Are there any other choices out there for us Americans?

  6. soundofreason says:

    He’s my gift to politicians, ALL politicians, for decades of lies and deceit. Getting my vote. The cookie cutter candidates haven’t been getting it done.

  7. AhiPoke says:

    I think Trump’s success to date is the product of seven years of an incompetent Obama. Obama is the ultimate politician but a terrible president. The general public is turning to the anti-politician, with the hopes of getting a good president. I personally have a hard time imagining voting for Trump but then I have an even more difficult time thinking that I could vote for another four years of Obama by voting for Clinton. What I find to be ironic is the liberal press’ fascination with Trump, which provides him thousands of hours of free air time, may actually backfire and get him elected. I thought he’d be gone months ago. There’s no question that most “news” reports, designed to bring him down, are having an opposite effect.

    • Boots says:

      lol, yes Obama has been so bad. Just took us out of the worst recession since the great depression. Hammered an agreement with Iran, and has talked to that god forsaken country Cuba. lol If republicans had half the success Obama has had, perhaps I might consider them. But as practitioners of Voodoo, their policies will only result in economic meltdowns.

      • AhiPoke says:

        Interesting perspective. If Obama has been so great, why then are his poll numbers so bad and a goofball like Trump is even being given serious consideration as our next president?

        • Boots says:

          How about the poll numbers for the republican congress? What have those bums done since they gotten into office? Next year they house will only be in session something like 111 days. Love the republican work ethic. They make welfare bums look like hard workers. As for Obama’s numbers well, he is disliked by both the right and the left. Maybe he is just doing something right.

        • AhiPoke says:

          Thank you Boots, you’ve confirmed my point. The general public dislikes politicians of both parties. That’s the only way someone like Trump can have any success. That and the news media who continue to assist him.

  8. innocentBystander says:

    Decisive = Devisive, in Mr. Trump’s case.

  9. Hoppy says:

    As long as Trump’s supporters are aware that one day he may do something that they don’t like and he does it anyway. They have no right to complain about the “how” he goes about it.

  10. butinski says:

    Why go through this charade? Like it or not, Clinton will win because the GOP is badly splintered. Trump, and now Carson, threatening to leave the GOP. The Republicans are just handing the general election to Hillary by their internal bickering.

  11. wrightj says:

    There will be more terrorist attacks with or without Donald as president.

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