Former President Donald Trump is overwhelmingly seen as the leader of the Republican Party while the prospect of a third party splitting the GOP appears to be unpopular, according to a new survey of more than 28,000 readers of The Epoch Times.
About 82 percent of a total of 28,643 readers said they saw Trump as the “current leader of the GOP.” The second-most-voted figure was Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who received 930 votes—around 3 percent of the total surveyed.
Almost 8 percent voted for someone not mentioned on the survey, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley.
Other recent polls have drawn similar results. A Morning Consult/Politico poll released on Feb. 15 found more than half of Republicans (59 percent) said Trump should play a “major role” in the GOP going forward, while 54 percent said they would support the former president in a hypothetical 2024 presidential primary.
Epoch Times readers were also asked about whether they believe the GOP can win back control of the Senate without Trump’s support in 2022; about 73 percent said no. Just a little over 3,700, or 13 percent, believe the GOP can regain its majority without Trump’s support, while 14 percent of readers said they weren’t sure.
The answers were similar when respondents were asked if they believe the GOP could win back the majority in the House without Trump’s support. A majority, about 70 percent, said they don’t believe a win in the House can be achieved without Trump’s support.
Nearly 48 percent of respondents believe there shouldn’t be a third party that splits off from the GOP, with about 23 percent saying that such a party should exist, and 29 percent unsure.
The future success of the party is tied to the former president, according to one respondent from California.
“Without the support of Trump, the GOP is done,” stated Fernando Vera, a high school science teacher. “Millions that supported Trump will not forget what the leadership of the GOP did to him.”
Steve, a computer specialist from Texas who didn’t provide his last name, said he believes Trump has a unique ability to inspire and drive voters in the country, a factor needed by the GOP to stay afloat.
“A lot of us prefer Trump’s policies and patriotism to the same old stuff that most other politicians have to offer, regardless of their party affiliation,” he said. “Trump was incredibly successful at motivating voters in almost every sector of the population and the Republican Party needs that enthusiasm to survive.”
Trump supporters “are loyal to him and will continue to follow his directives and objectives,” said Robert Ferracane, a retired programmer from New York.
The success of future GOP candidates is also tied to Trump, according to the results of the survey.
Nearly 90 percent of respondents (25,667) said they were likely to vote for candidates whom Trump has endorsed. Just 347 said they likely wouldn’t.
“The 74 [million] or 75 million of us who voted for him in the last election sought a second term for him, but in lieu of that, I think we will continue to support him at the state and local levels, in order to supplant disloyal GOP incumbents through appropriate GOP primaries,” Ferracane said.
Ferracane said he hoped Republicans can retake the House and Senate “through a new generation of MAGA GOP candidates.”
Meanwhile, 64 percent of respondents said they were unlikely to vote for candidates endorsed by McConnell. More than 4 percent said they were likely to vote for candidates whom McConnell endorsed, while a significant amount of respondents (32 percent) were undecided.
“Trump’s judgment about people has not been the best, but he truly does care about the country,” said J.S., a retired engineer from Massachusetts.
“Anyone he endorses is worth careful consideration. McConnell, on the other hand, is a pure politician. I don’t trust him at all and would be skeptical of anyone he cares to endorse.”