https://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2022/01/do-republicans-love-trump-as-they-once-did.php

Recent polling shows they do not. However, it also shows that Republicans still like Trump enough to nominate him in 2024.

Dan Balz notes that on the eve of the 2020 election, 54 percent of Republicans and independents who lean Republican said they considered themselves more a supporter of Trump than of the Republican Party, compared with 38 percent who said they considered themselves more a supporter of the Republican Party. By January 2021, views were evenly divided, with 46 percent saying Trump and 46 percent saying the GOP.

What about now? According to Balz, a poll released last weekend shows that 56 percent of Republicans say they are more supporters of the party than of Trump, while 36 percent say they are more supporters of Trump than of the party. The numbers have basically flipped since October 2020.

The defectors come from a wide range of constituencies. Since October 2020, Trump has lost 26 points in this survey among white Republicans without college degrees and 21 points among conservative Republicans. He has lost 18 points among Republican men and 17 points among Republican women. He has lost 23 points among Republicans age 65 and older and 19 points among white evangelical Republicans.

That’s the good news, from my perspective. The bad news is that, regardless of whether Republicans still think of themselves as Trumpites first, they still like the former president enough to make him the clear, and perhaps overwhelming, favorite for the 2024 nomination.

Balz reports that he latest Economist/YouGov poll finds 82 percent of Republicans with a favorable impression of Trump, including 59 percent who view him very favorably. That’s down from December 2020, when 91 percent viewed him favorably and 74 percent viewed him very favorably, but the current numbers are still ones that any normal politician would be delighted with.

There’s also a new Marquette University Law School survey finding that 73 percent of Republicans nationally view Trump favorably. The same poll shows that 63 percent of Republicans and 51 percent of Republican-leaning independents say they would like to see Trump run again in 2024.

The director of the poll says:

That’s an interesting gap between 73 percent liking him but only [63] percent saying they would like him to run again. That still leaves him as the odds-on favorite in a primary today, but you can see. . .the opportunity to think about future candidates rather than past candidates.

Can we? At this point, it’s not clear to me that “future candidates” themselves are seriously thinking about challenging Trump in 2024.

Anyone under the age of 55 (or so) can pass up a run in 2024 and still have several opportunities to seek the presidency. To seek it in 2024 risks (1) drawing the permanent ire of Trump’s base and (2) being cut down to miniature size by Trump himself.

Think back to 2016. The GOP field consisted of some of the brightest young GOP presidential prospects. Are any of them still mentioned as possible contenders in 2024? Only Chris Christie comes to my mind.

But Christie played on Trump’s team in 2024. He helped take down Marco Rubio and then endorsed Trump fairly early in the primary season. Moreover, Christie is far down the list of serious potential non-Trump contenders in 2024, I think. The main names I hear are Ron DeSantis, Mike Pence, Nikki Haley, and Tom Cotton.

Balz concludes, correctly I think, that “for now, Trump remains the leader of the Republican Party and the nomination is his to lose — if he decides to run.” Only if Trump continues to slip pretty dramatically in the next year-and-a-half might this state of affairs change.

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