Trump on the rise, but could give Clinton landslide

| Tom Jensen

If Donald Trump somehow won the Republican nomination for President, he could fuel a 400 plus electoral vote landslide for Hillary Clinton.  Our newest Kentucky poll finds that Clinton would trail 8 out of the 9 Republicans we tested against her by anywhere from 5-10 points in the state- it’s unlikely she’ll be able to have the state in her column like her husband did. But there is one exception to that rule- she leads Trump 45/42 in a hypothetical contest, including a 13 point advantage with independents at 46/33.

And Trump is surging following his announcement last week. He’s at 12% among Republican primary voters in the state, putting him in 3rd place. Rand Paul leads the GOP field in his home state but with an underwhelming 19% supporting him. That’s down from the 25% standing we found for him in Kentucky last summer, suggesting his bid is losing some steam among the voters who know him best. Jeb Bush is second at 13%, followed by Trump, then Scott Walker at 11%, Mike Huckabee and Marco Rubio at 10%, Ben Carson at 7%, and Ted Cruz and Carly Fiorina each at 4%. (We didn’t include Chris Christie this week because of his lack of movement toward launching a campaign but will put him back now with news of a possible announcement date.)

Even though his overall share of the primary vote isn’t that impressive Paul does pull off an unusual feat of leading with moderates, ‘somewhat conservative,’ and ‘very conservative’ GOPers alike. We haven’t seen many polls this year where anyone managed to do that. Beyond Paul the Republican with the highest favorability rating in Kentucky is Mike Huckabee at 60/19. His support for the nomination has dropped from 18% last August to 10% now though, suggesting that even though he is still broadly liked fresher prospects have passed him by as a first choice. Marco Rubio at 56/20 is the only other Republican hopeful liked by a majority of primary voters in the state, continuing a trend of his being near the top for popularity everywhere that we poll.

On the Democratic side Clinton is ever dominant, getting 56% to 12% for Bernie Sanders, 7% for Jim Webb, 5% for Lincoln Chafee, and 3% for Martin O’Malley. Clinton is over 80% with African Americans, 70% with liberals, 60% with younger voters, and 50% with moderates, women, men, whites, and seniors. The only group she fails to get a majority with is the swath of Kentucky Democrats who are conservatives and don’t tend to vote Democratic in national elections despite their registration.

Clinton doesn’t have much of a chance in the general election in the state outside of ending up running against Trump though. Paul (50/40) and Huckabee (49/39) fare the best against Clinton with 10 point leads. Carson has a 9 point lead at 49/40 and Bush’s is 8 points at 48/40. Holding more modest leads over Clinton are Cruz with a 6 point one at 48/42, and Walker (46/41), Rubio (46/41), and Fiorina (45/40) each with a 5 point advantage.

Clinton may not do great in Kentucky but it’s really bad for any of the other Democratic hopefuls. Scott Walker would lead Sanders 42/29, O’Malley 40/22, Chafee 41/23, and Webb 42/22. Obviously that has a lot to do with name recognition but it’s still somewhat jarring to see potential Democratic candidates polling in the low 20s for the general election in any state.

Full results here

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