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The GOP Candidates Are Onstage – Who Stands for Them?

The GOP Candidates Are Onstage – Who Stands for Them?


It’s August 6th—a mere 459 days until the 2016 presidential election. And with the first Republican presidential debate tonight, the race is heating up.

Before the candidates dig into one another, we’re sharing new data on the race from a new online survey we conducted for NBC News.

Republicans who support celebrity businessman Donald Trump for their party’s presidential nomination overwhelmingly see immigrants as a burden to the country, while almost all of those siding with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker see government regulation as damaging to economic growth.

A majority of those backing New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie see human activity as a main driver of climate change, as do about half of those who say they would vote for Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) and Florida governor Jeb Bush. By contrast, most of those supporting other GOP contenders see natural causes, not human activity, behind rising temperatures.

These findings come from a large-scale poll by SurveyMonkey and NBC News, reported in the lead-up to the first Republican debate. Details of the survey, including interviews with more than 3,000 Republicans or Republican-leaning independents are available here. The link at the bottom points to a spreadsheet with fresh data about the 10 candidates who made it onto the FOX News debate stage.

Who has staying power?

For Trump, the fact that such an outsized proportion of his support is among voters opposed to immigration points to his staying power. Previously, how much of his support was based on his tough anti-immigrant stance or on name recognition was purely a matter of speculation.

Trump, who leads in this and other surveys of the GOP field, has consistent support across regions, as does Bush, who ties for second. Walker shares the second position and has support that’s most concentrated in the Midwest. He has 15 percent of the vote in the Midwest, and high, single-digit support elsewhere. Support for Walker is also skewed along gender lines: only about a quarter of his support comes from female voters.

This poll was not a state-based survey, but in Ohio, where the debate is taking place, voters put their own governor, John Kasich, ahead of the pack with 29 percent. Looking at all the early states together (Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina), Trump still leads, with former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee the only other candidate to crack into double digits.

Link to additional crosstabs is here. Happy exploring, everyone.

Questions or comments for us? Leave them below and enjoy the debates.

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