Donald Trump believes he is at the helm of a movement. "This is more than me," he said via telephone on CNN's State of the Union on Sunday when asked if he's surprised he's leading in the GOP polls. "This is a movement going on." Many Americans disapprove vehemently — and publicly — of Trump's recent antics. Fifty-eight percent of all Americans hold unfavorable views of The Donald, according to a CNN/ORC poll released Sunday. For comparison's sake, some 48% of Americans have a negative opinion of Hillary Clinton.
This is a movement going on.
Nevertheless, Trump has assembled a loyal, excited constituency among Republicans, 19% of whom said they'd be likely to vote for Trump as the 2016 Republican nominee, according to the CNN/ORC poll. The big question for the rest of us is: Who are these people and what do they see in Donald Trump?
"He is very aggressive and appears authentic. People like that. They feel like most politicians are too polished, like they do all these shady things and pretend like they don't," Emily Ekins, a research fellow at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, told Refinery29. Ekins says that most Trump supporters tend to be white, working-class males with lower levels of education who are frustrated with the sort of "smoke screen" politics that dominate Washington. At the same time, she emphasized that Trump's team is not the Tea Party — they're moderate to conservative Republicans who stop just left of the very far right. Those who consider themselves committed Tea Party members are bigger fans of Scott Walker, Ekins said.
He is very aggressive and appears authentic. People like that.
Emily Ekins, CATO Institute fellow
But it's important not to look at Trump's popularity through such a narrow lens. Plenty of people who aren't white, working-class men have voiced their support for Trump. Former NBA star Dennis Rodman has backed him, and some women across the country have, too.
And even for those who might not cast their vote for him, Trump has an entertainment factor that both makes headlines and draws people in. "He’s also entertaining. I think people enjoy that," Ekins said. "People say, 'I don't even know if I like him. He’s just so interesting.'" That may explain why 45% of respondents said they wanted Trump to stay in the race. That Trump is fun to watch probably won't get him into the White House, however. The poll showed that 39% of Americans belive Jeb Bush will win the Republican nomination. And, last week, an ABC News/Washington Post poll concluded that 62% of voters who identify as Republican would not vote for Trump in an election were he to win his party's nomination.