If we see a battle break out between congressional Republicans and President Donald Trump, a new poll suggests that conservative voters will side with the president. According to a new Rasmussen Reports survey, 63% of Republican voters say that Trump’s views are closer to their own than the views of the GOP-controlled Congress. Only 27% of Republican voters favor Congress over Trump.
When it comes to the electorate as a whole, 53% of likely voters identify strongly with either Trump or congressional Republicans. Among Democrats, however, only 16% believe that Trump’s views are close to their own. 72% of Democratic voters align more strongly with the average congressman from their party.
It would also appear that Republican voters have not forgotten how Trump won the election. According to the survey, 51% of conservative voters still feel that GOP leaders wanted to keep Trump from becoming president. That’s down from 66% last year, but it’s still a whopping number. Those voters know that despite the facade of harmony we’re seeing from the Republican Party right now, the GOP establishment tried everything possible to avoid having Trump as a the nominee.
House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell need to take a long, hard look at this survey before they start work on an agenda that runs counter to Trump’s. On many things, Trump and the Republicans are in relative lockstep, but that doesn’t mean everything will be hunky-dory. On immigration, especially, we could see a sharp divide between the two. If Republicans think that opposing Trump is politically survivable, they may be in for a nasty surprise.
Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee that this message will get through. Congress is always deeply unpopular with the American public, but each individual congressman only needs to satisfy his or her own constituents. As long as their approval ratings remain high at home, it doesn’t really matter how they are viewed by the rest of the electorate.
Still, they aren’t insulated entirely. Wave elections happen, and our politics have never been more national than they are right now. More than a few Republicans are sitting in Washington right now because of Donald Trump, and they would do well to remember that.