Republican Voter Discontent with Trump

Republican Voter Discontent with Trump’s Potential Nomination

Recent data from AP VoteCast reveals a concerning trend among Republican primary and caucus voters: a significant portion would refuse to vote for Donald Trump if he were to become the party’s presidential nominee. This poses a potential challenge for the former president as he aims to secure the nomination and gear up for a showdown with Democratic President Joe Biden.

Analysis of Voter Sentiment

  • In early Republican contests, a substantial percentage of voters expressed dissatisfaction with Trump’s potential nomination:

    • Iowa: 2 out of 10 voters
    • New Hampshire: 1 out of 3 voters
    • South Carolina: 1 out of 4 voters
  • This dissent is not limited to the initial states, indicating widespread concerns among Republican voters.

Voices of Dissent

One example is the Baltzell couple, who left the Republican Party to become independents a year ago. Attending a rally for Trump’s rival, Nikki Haley, they voiced their reservations about Trump’s candidacy.

  • Bill Baltzell (60) expressed concerns about Trump facing legal issues that could disqualify him, preferring an alternative to Biden’s potential reelection.
  • Lee Baltzell (58) shared uncertainty about supporting either Biden or Trump, hinting at a possible write-in option if faced with the binary choice between the two.


The discontent among Republican voters regarding Trump’s nomination underscores the divisions within the party as the political landscape evolves. As the former president navigates his path towards the nomination, these sentiments may impact his campaign strategy and prospects in the upcoming election cycle.

The Potential Impact of Anti-Trump Voters on the Election

Opposition from voters like the Baltzells hasn’t slowed Trump’s march toward the nomination, but it could be an issue for him later on. It’s not clear how much of a problem, though, because a dive into the numbers shows that many of the “never-Trump” voters in the early states were unlikely to vote for him in the general election to begin with.

Party Affiliations of Anti-Trump Voters

Many of the voters who said they wouldn’t vote for Trump as the nominee aren’t Republicans at all. In the first three head-to-head contests, anywhere from 17% to 31% of the voters who said they wouldn’t support Trump in the general election identified as Democrats, and between 14% and 27% identified as independents.

Anti-Trump Republicans

Even for some of those Republicans, voting for Trump was already a tough sell. Anywhere between one-half and two-thirds of the staunchly anti-Trump voters in the early contests said they had voted for Biden in 2020.

Voter Turnout

Then there is the fact that primaries tend to draw out the people with the most passionate opinions. Voter turnout in primaries and caucuses, particularly ones that are relatively uncompetitive, is typically lower than it would be in a general election.

Shifting Opinions

Still, about one in 10 early contest voters who said they supported Trump in the 2020 general election said they wouldn’t be doing so this year.

A Voter’s Dilemma

“I won’t vote for Trump, I’ll just say that. I voted for him twice; I could never vote for him again,” said Linda Binkley, 74, a registered Republican who isn’t pleased by the prospect of a Trump vs. Biden matchup. She added, “I’m not sure I can vote for Biden.”

Winning Over Moderates

If Trump becomes the nominee, he will likely need to win over some of the moderates who supported Biden in 2020 if he wants to return to the White House. From that perspective, even a small amount of opposition from within his own party — not to mention broader skepticism among independents — could be a problem in the future.

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