While the Republican establishment is still banking on the #NeverTrump movement, a majority of Republican and Republican-leaning voters want the party to unite behind Donald Trump, according to a national Monmouth University poll released Wednesday.
The New York businessman is well on his way to the 1,237 delegates needed to clinch the Republican nomination, and his win in Arizona’s primary Tuesday night gave him another 58 delegates toward that goal. Trump has 738 delegates at this point, leading Texas Sen. Ted Cruz by nearly 300 delegates and Ohio Gov. John Kasich by more than 600.
But if Trump does not reach the magic delegate number, 54 percent of those in Monmouth’s poll said the Republican Party should choose him as its nominee anyway. Slightly more than one-third said they would like to see a different candidate nominated at the convention, and 7 percent said they did not know which they’d prefer.
Of those who said they wanted a non-Trump candidate nominated at the convention, 33 percent said they would like to see Cruz as the party’s nominee, while 23 percent favored Kasich and 10 percent wanted Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who dropped out of the presidential race earlier this month. Other names received small amounts of support, including Ben Carson (5 percent), 2012 nominee Mitt Romney (4 percent), former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (3 percent) and House Speaker Paul Ryan (2 percent). About 18 percent of respondents said they did not know who they would prefer.
Trump has often talked about how he is expanding the Republican Party by bringing in new voters who are only excited by him. He has also said he expects his supporters to riot if he comes close to winning 1,237 delegates but is denied the nomination at the Republican National Convention this summer.
However, 43 percent of Trump supporters in the poll said that if a different candidate were nominated at the convention, they would still vote for the Republican nominee in November. On the other hand, 27 percent said they would not vote in the presidential election if Trump were not the nominee, 13 percent said they would support a third-party candidate and 7 percent said they would vote for the Democratic nominee.
Trump supporters have clashed with protestors at the Republican's rallies in recent weeks, but voters in the poll were divided about who to blame over the violence that has often erupted from these confrontations. A plurality, 44 percent, placed equal blame on Trump supporters and protesters, while 26 percent said protesters carry the blame and 23 percent faulted the Republican’s supporters.
When it comes to overall support, Trump maintained his wide lead over the GOP field. He held 41 percent support among Republicans and Republican-leaning voters, while Cruz received 29 percent support and Kasich received 18 percent.
The Monmouth University poll included 817 Republican and Republican-leaning voters, and was conducted March 17-20. It had a margin of error of plus-or-minus 3.4 percent.