PPP's newest national poll finds that Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan wouldn't exactly be the solution to the GOP's Donald Trump problem, with Romney doing even worse head to head against Hillary Clinton than Trump does.
Clinton (48/41) and Bernie Sanders (48/40) each lead Trump by solid margins, and have more modest leads over Ted Cruz as well (45/42 for Clinton, 48/41 for Sanders). Clinton (45/41) and Sanders (44/41) would each trail John Kasich. We find that a generic Democrat would lead a generic Republican for President 45/43 so when it comes to match ups against Clinton, Cruz essentially is the generic Republican with Trump being 5 points worse and Kasich being 6 points better. Much is made of Trump's unpopularity nationally and he certainly is unpopular- a 29/63 favorability rating- but Cruz isn't much better off at 30/58. Kasich's 41/39 rating makes him the only candidate in either party on positive ground.
There's been a lot of talk about Republicans possibly nominating Romney or Ryan at a contested convention, but both under perform a generic Republican candidate. Romney is incredibly unpopular nationally now- his 23/65 favorability rating is even worse than the 29/63 Trump comes in at. Clinton (45/32) and Sanders (48/31) each lead Romney by double digit margins. Ryan would trail Clinton 44/39 and Sanders 45/38, numbers not terribly dissimilar to how Trump polls against each of them. It's not clear Romney or Ryan would do much to save the party this year.
There's been talk about Rick Perry as a potential independent candidate for President to give the #NeverTrump people somewhere to go if he wins the nomination. Perry gets 12% as an independent, including about 20% of the Republican vote. His presence pushes both Clinton (44/35) and Sanders (43/34) up to 9 point leads against Trump. To put Perry's 12% into perspective, Deez Nuts gets 10% as an independent candidate and actually pulls more from Clinton, taking her lead down to 5 points at 42/37.
This new national poll also shows the extent to which Trump could damage Republican Senate candidates (and presumably those for other offices as well.) By a 23 point spread voters say they're less likely to vote for the GOP Senate hopeful in their state if that person supports Trump for President- 46% are less likely to vote for a candidate who does that, compared to only 23% who are more likely to vote for one. With independents it's a 32 point spread- 47% less likely, only 15% more likely to vote for a Senate candidate who backs Trump. Trump may not be the biggest concern for Republican Senate hopefuls though. Mitch McConnell has a 16/64 approval rating nationally, including 10/70 with independents. He's the most unpopular major political figure in the country, and being associated with him may not be good news for the members of his caucus seeking reelection across the country this year.
Other notes from the national poll:
-72% of voters support increasing the minimum wage to at least $10 an hour, compared to just 15% who think it should stay where it is and 11% who would like to eliminate it altogether. There's 89% support from Democrats, 72% from independents, and 53% from Republicans for going up to at least $10 an hour.
-There continues to be broad bipartisan support for background checks on all gun purchases. 84% of voters are in favor of them to only 10% who are opposed, and that includes 91% of Democrats, 81% of independents, and 77% of Republicans. It's hard to think of another more contentious policy issue nationally where public opinion is actually so firmly on one side.
-67% of voters support the EPA's Clean Power Plan to only 26% who are opposed. 87% of Democrats, as well as 72% of independents, are in favor of it.
-Finally we polled on the very important matter of the Hulk Hogan/Gawker suit. Middle America doesn't seem to be paying much attention to this one, as 55% of voters have no opinion. But among those who do take a side it's pretty one sided- 36% go with Hogan to only 9% who stand with Gawker. Like the Presidential election though, this is another modern conflict where voters aren't too crazy about either of the choices. Gawker's favorability rating is 6/38, and Hogan doesn't do a whole lot better at 21/37.
Full results here