A new survey shows Trump’s support among Democrats

Summary: A new report by Mercury Analytics explores a new dimension of Trump’s strength, which continues to defy the experts — his appeal to Democrats. Trump has tapped the suppressed force of American populism, which crosses the lines of our low-legitimacy political parties. It’s too late for complacency; he is only 4 steps from winning. It is not too late for action.

Cartoon by Brian Duffy: "Populist", Jan 2014

It is far too early to say for certain, but 2016 might become a realignment election (like 1860 and 1932). More likely it might begin a slower realignment process. The two major examples are 1892-1896 (business interests bought the GOP, crushing populism) and 1964-1968 (the New Deal ends when the GOP abandoned its heritage to welcome southern whites angry at Blacks gaining full civil rights).

Now Trump has accidentally tapped the long-suppressed power of American populism by advocating restrictions on immigration (as the foreign-born population reaches the proportions that sparked the restrictive legislation of 1882-1924). It’s a geyser of enthusiasm that so far has overcome Trump’s large negatives as a candidate (e.g., no governing experience and erratic personality) and the united opposition of the major institutions and both parties — defying the predictions of almost everybody (those who read my August post were not surprised).

One feature of populism seldom mentioned is its bipartisan appeal, rare in this politically polarized era. The Democratic Party owned populism after McKinley crushed William Jennings Bryan in 1892, and then lost that lock after Johnson pushed through the great 1964-68 civil rights bills (populism has a racist component).

Now populism has emerged, and its ability to reach across party lines opens the possibility for the long-expected realignment of the stagnant political structure. That’s been visible — if ignored — in the match-up polls of Hillary vs. Donald (see the latest below), and explored in more detail by this new report by Mercury Analytics. If Trump casts himself as a populist candidate it would dash Democrats’ dream of a united Left triumphing over a divided Right in November.


Mercury Analytics

A blockbuster announcement from Mercury Analytics

Mercury Analytics, a technology-driven consumer research and political polling firm based in Washington, D.C. conducted a survey and ad “dial-test” of Trump’s first campaign spot among a national sample of n=916 “likely voters”. The results show, that if the election were held today, between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton has the edge, but would be facing a very tough competitor.

Almost 20% of likely Democratic voters would today cross parties and vote for Donald Trump, while only 14% of Republicans would cross parties to vote for Hillary Clinton.

Additionally when crossover voters were asked how sure of their votes they were, 63% of Democrats who would crossover to vote for Mr. Trump today were “100% Sure” of their vote while only 39% of Republicans who would crossover to vote for Ms. Clinton today were “100% Sure”, demonstrating that potential Republican defectors to Hillary are significantly less sure of their intention versus Democratic defectors.

Mercury Analytics also dial-tested Trump’s first campaign ad, allowing voters to react to each moment of the commercial, and found that even among a significant segment of Democrats and Independents who are turned-off by Trump’s personality and style, the primary messages of Trump’s campaign ad resonated more than Democratic elites would hope.

Nearly a quarter (25%) of Democrats “agree completely” that the ad raised some good points; nearly half (44%) of Democrats agree “completely” or “somewhat”.

And 21% of Democrats “agree completely” that the ad represents “how I feel”; nearly one-third (32%) of Democrats agree “completely” or “somewhat”.

Ron Howard, CEO of Mercury Analytics and a Democrat himself stated “We expected Trump’s first campaign spot to strongly appeal to Republican Trump supporters, with little impact – or in fact negative impact – on Democratic or Independent voters.  However, what we see is that among a segment of Democratic and Independent voters who don’t like the “messenger” of Trump – the issues he is raising (Immigration, Terrorism) are real concerns they share.

… Results are based on an online survey conducted January 6 – 8, 2016. The study has a margin of error of +/- 3.5%.

—————————— End excerpt. ——————————


There are four keys to a possible Trump win in 2016: he builds an effective national campaign organization, he makes deals with America’s elites, he adopts a populist platform, and he gets a lucky break (e.g., a recession in mid-2016).

The odds of Trump making successful deals with our elites is, imo, very high. The odds are probably small of him building an effective organization and adopting an overall populist platform. Multiple these together: the odds of a Trump win are low. But they’re far higher than they were three months ago. Watch the trend. This might be a year of surprises.

Match-up polls: Clinton vs. Trump

The most recent match-up polls of Clinton vs. Trump show Clinton up 7%, up 2%, up 1%, and behind 3%. It’s a trend.

Clinton vs. Trump Match-up poll, 10 January 2016

Other posts about the Trump, candidate of new populism

  1. From August: The Donald Trump revolution, dismissed as all revolts are in the beginning.
  2. Background: Scary lessons for America from pre-revolutionary France.
  3. Donald Trump leads us back to the future, to the dark days of US history.
  4. A New America arises, perhaps with Trump as its first leader.
  5. Two scary graphs about the rise of Donald. Fear fascism. Act now.
  6. Look to the Left to see the force powering Trump and Carson.
  7. The numbers about immigration that fuel Trump’s campaign.
  8. New York shows how Democrat-run cities & states contribute to the rise of Trump.
  9. Good news: we begin to see that we are sliding towards fascism.
  10. Next phase of the Trump revolution: rise of the new populism.
  11. Important: Trump’s hope: a recession might put him in the White House.
  12. The four keys to a possible Trump victory.

For More Information

A rare mention (quickly dropped) in the major media that Trump is a populist candidate: “The Great Republican Revolt” by David Frum in The Atlantic — “The GOP planned a dynastic restoration in 2016. Instead, it triggered an internal class war. Can the party reconcile the demands of its donors with the interests of its rank and file?”

See the Wikipedia entries about realignment elections, about populism, and 19thC American populism. Note the small entry about American populism; our educated people don’t consider it important. Also see the Census’ article “The ‘Second Great Wave’ of Immigration: Growth of the Foreign-Born Population Since 1970.

If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. See all posts about our economy, and especially my Jan 6 article at Seeking Alpha about the odds of a recession in 2016 — which might put Trump in the White House.

4 thoughts on “A new survey shows Trump’s support among Democrats”

  1. 1. McKinley beat Jennings in 1892, not 1982 :)

    2. Your analysis is unavoidably based on shaky data because the opinion of the American electorate is notoriously fickle and the current circumstances have pushed them into an unexpected corner. The two leading candidates for the parties have long sordid histories and very large permanent negatives. This election might be worse than 2000, which was the worst election in modern history. The winner might once again be determined by who the candidates select as the VP candidates. Putting Dick Cheney on the ticket did a lot more than George Bush than John Edwards did for Al Gore.

    3. I understand your desire for Populism to re-emerge but I believe that it already has done so with the Tea Party, which did not end well. I so no reason that near-future efforts at Populism will not have similar results. The late 1960’s efforts at re-sparking Populism also ended badly with the rise of Nixon, Carter, and finally Reagan. Can the Populism of the late 19th Century survive in our modern environment without being co-opted by politicians? Color me skeptical.

    4. The two reasons I can imagine anybody voting for Trump are: (a) he’s got a real chance at getting elected and (b) he will break our current system so badly if he gets elected that we will have to fix it. I wonder how many people are using the same line of logic, especially the second part.

    1. Pluto,

      (1) Thanks for catching the typo!

      (2) “Your analysis is unavoidably based on shaky data”

      Yes. But that’s almost always true when looking at trends in society. Which is why I write in terms of possibilities, not predictions.

      (3) “I believe that it already has done so with the Tea Party”

      Social trends are not like summer blockbuster movies. They don’t emerge on release day. They arise over years or decades. However, I disagree. The Tea Party was straight conservative in doctrine, which is why it remained a powerful force in the Right but with little appeal elsewhere.

      (4) Americans vote for Presidents based on a wide range of reasons, often quite delusional. Which is why Democracy is described by advanced species as “a good system, for beginners.” (From Heinlein’s “Have Spacesuit, will travel”.

  2. One crazy theory being floated is that Obama will Wait till Hillary has the nomination sewn up he will release his DOJ hounds on her for mailgate. She withdraws. The party drafts Michelle as the new candidate. In other words America gets to choose its own version of Evita Peron. Populist tit for tat. Don’t cry for me …

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