Trump’s Popularity In The Primary May Backfire In The General

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Juliegrace Brufke Capitol Hill Reporter
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GOP voter turnout during the 2016 presidential primaries has been exceptionally strong while Democrats numbers have dropped this election cycle – but if you look at past data, it doesn’t necessarily mean we will see a President Donald Trump if he wins the nomination.

The Wall Street Journal reports Republican voter turnout has skyrocketed 64 percent since 2012, which it largely attributed to the billionaire real estate developer piquing Americans’ interest – but some experts say Trump’s rhetoric may also draw his critics to come out to the polls in November.

According to Matt Dallek, assistant professor of political management in the Graduate School of Political Management at George Washington University, the crowded Republican field filled with high-profile names may have been a large factor in the rise in numbers.

“Trump, at least in the current moment, remains a uniquely polarizing figure among Republicans, so Republicans also turned out because they wanted to stop him,” Dallek told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “I’m not sure that the uptick in Republican primary turnout translates into an uptick in Republican turnout in the fall, and also you could see the opposite of that if Republicans decide to stay home.”

As David Brooks of The New York Times recently pointed out during an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press” – if you look at past elections – there is often a disconnect between party turnout during the primaries and the outcome of general elections.

In 1776, 1980, 1988, 1992, 2000 and 2008 the opposite party that won the general election had a higher voter turnout during the primary process.

Another factor that may play a part in November’s results is Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton failing to gain the support President Barack Obama was able to garner during his past two elections.

“One of the great questions of this election is that without Obama on the ballot, and with Hillary Clinton who is obviously a very flawed candidate, and with significant opposition from the Democratic Party, is that Obama electorate, that sort of rising American electorate, is that going to turn out in November for Hillary Clinton?” Dallek said. “And I think it’s reasonable to think that the reaction to Trump, the fear of Trump, will be as much if not more of a motivator to people as the desire to cast a vote for Hillary Clinton.”

According to the latest CNN/ORC poll, Clinton is leading Trump by 13 points nationally.

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