Republicans overwhelmingly back former President Donald Trump for the upcoming election, but their primary concern revolves around his communication style, according to a recent CNN poll.
Released on Thursday, the poll indicated that Trump maintains a 4-point lead over President Joe Biden in a hypothetical election rematch. Approximately 70 percent of Republican voters expressed a preference for the ex-president over other potential GOP candidates, including former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley.
However, the key apprehension among Republicans about Trump’s candidacy centers on his demeanor, with a notable 15 percent highlighting concerns about him being “Tactless/Abrasive/Disrespectful/His mouth” as their primary issue.
Additional worries among Republicans include the fear of Democratic attacks, potential legal issues stemming from the 91 felony criminal charges against Trump, and the unsubstantiated belief that “elections are rigged against him.”
A smaller yet significant faction of GOP voters voiced concerns about Trump’s perceived dishonesty, corruption, immorality, criminality, as well as his perceived instability, anger, craziness, and lack of control. Ego, arrogance, and self-centeredness were also cited as troubling characteristics.
This recent poll echoes previous instances where Republicans have expressed reservations about Trump’s personality. Following Trump’s defeat in 2020, former Republican Senator Pat Toomey attributed the loss to Trump’s “personality traits and character traits,” stating that they had alienated many voters.
Even Trump ally Senator Lindsey Graham warned in a 2022 CNBC interview that Trump’s personality could pose a challenge in the 2024 election, emphasizing that a personality contest might be problematic for the former president.
In an interesting shift, the latest poll shows a notable increase in the number of Republicans expressing concerns about Trump’s communication style compared to an August 2023 version of the same poll, where only 8 percent considered the “tactless” nature of the ex-president a potential problem.
Interestingly, among Democrats, the primary concern about President Biden was his age, with 46 percent feeling he is “too old” to serve. This contrasts with only 3 percent of Republicans sharing a similar concern about Trump, who is less than four years younger.
When examining voter motivations, 60 percent of Trump supporters indicated they were voting “for” him, while 40 percent were voting “against” Biden. In contrast, Biden supporters demonstrated a different dynamic, with 68 percent voting “against” Trump and 32 percent voting “for” the president.
The poll, conducted by SSRS on behalf of CNN, surveyed 1,212 U.S. adults online and over the phone from January 25 to January 30, with a margin of error of 3.4 percent.