Most Democrats, nearly 6 in 10, say they would be “scared” if Donald Trump were to win the Republican presidential nomination; most Republicans would be “hopeful” or “excited.”
About 1 in 4 in both parties admit they would be “surprised.”
Those are a few of the findings from a new election-tracking survey by SurveyMonkey, the online polling firm. The survey, taken Dec. 8-10, is part of a long-term project conducted since early this summer.
The firm’s tracking also allows a close look at the nature of Trump’s support within the GOP. It’s not ideological – Trump’s backers closely mirror the distribution of very conservative, conservative and moderate voters within Republican ranks, the polls have found.
Instead of an ideological division, Trump has taken advantage of the sharp class divide among Republicans. He has consolidated support of the party’s blue-collar, non-college-educated wing, while the party’s more affluent, college-educated voters remain split among several candidates.
About one-third of Republican voters who have a high school education or less back Trump, which puts him far ahead of Ben Carson, the retired neurosurgeon who is in second place with that group, at 17%. Ted Cruz at 9%, Marcio Rubio at 7% and Jeb Bush at 6% round out top five.
But among those with a college degree or more, Trump’s lead is much smaller. He has 21% of the voters in that group, compared with 19% for Carson, 13% for Rubio, 9% for Cruz and 6% for Bush.
In recent election cycles, about half the GOP primary electorate has had a college degree.