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Weeks Before Election, Trump Still Not Viewed as GOP Leader

Paul Ryan scores higher, but it's still not unanimous

The poll surveyed 1300 U.S. adults including 343 Trump supporters.
The poll surveyed 1300 U.S. adults including 343 Trump supporters.

If primary elections are generally considered a way to find the two major parties’ standard-bearers, consider that another departure from the norm in 2016.

Only 23 percent of U.S. adults see presidential nominee Donald Trump as the leader of the Republican party, according to a new Economist/YouGov poll. Forty percent see House Speaker Paul D. Ryan as the party’s leader — roughly the same amount as those who said they are not sure.

Even among Trump supporters, fewer than half see the presidential candidate as the party’s leader. Forty-two percent view him as their standard-bearer, while 29 percent of Trump backers see Ryan as the head of the GOP.

Ryan told Republican colleagues earlier this month that he would stop defending or campaigning for Trump following the revelation of a 2005 video in which the GOP nominee bragged about groping and kissing women. Trump responded with a series of tweets lambasting Ryan for his lack of support.

Trump’s attacks on Ryan — including implying in an interview with Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly on Oct. 11 that the Wisconsin congressman may not retain his speakership in the next Congress — seem to have changed the opinions of Trump supporters.

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Thirty-five percent of Trump backers in The Economist/YouGov poll said they had a “very unfavorable” view of the speaker, which was double the number who said the same in a survey taken before Trump’s attacks began.

The web-based poll surveyed 1,300 U.S. adults from Oct. 15-18. The margin of error was 3.9 percentage points for all adults and 6.5 percentage points for the subset of 343 Trump supporters.

CQ Roll Call is owned by The Economist Group.

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