CNN Polling Director
(CNN) — Most Republican voters want Donald Trump to remain in the race for president, and he’s the candidate GOP voters are most likely to say they want to see on the debate stage, according to a new CNN/ORC Poll.
Trump, whose campaign for the presidency has come to dominate much of the news coverage of the Republican presidential field since he formally announced his candidacy in mid-June, remains a person Republican voters want to see more of, and a sizable 22% say they think he’ll eventually win the party’s nomination for president — second only to Jeb Bush.
Among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents who are registered to vote, 52% say they want Trump to stay in the race for the party’s nomination, while 33% hope that he drops out. Another 15% say they’d like to see him make an independent run for the presidency.
The CNN/ORC Poll is the first publicly-released national telephone poll to be conducted entirely after Trump talked about Senator John McCain’s military record during an Iowa campaign event last weekend, drawing rebukes from Republicans for saying he didn’t think McCain is a war hero.
The majority of those Republicans surveyed that wants Trump to remain in the race includes numbers of those seen as the core of the GOP primary electorate: 58% of white evangelicals, 58% of conservatives, and 57% of tea party supporters.
And when Republican voters are asked to set aside whichever candidate they currently support and pick someone else from the field whom they would most like to see on the debate stage in the next few months, 18% choose Trump, 14% say they want to see Bush there, and everyone else in the field is named by less than 10% of Republican voters.
Among a smaller swath of conservative GOP voters, another contender rises to double-digits: Florida Senator Marco Rubio. Twelve percent of conservative Republican voters say he’s the candidate they’d most like to see on the debate stage, about even with Bush at 14% and Trump at 16%.
Still, more say they expect someone other than Trump will ultimately win the nomination than think that the developer is the most likely winner.
Overall, 40% of all registered voters expect Bush to grab the party’s nomination, 18% say they think Trump will prevail and 11% see Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker eventually taking the party’s top slot. Among Republican voters, however, the gap is narrower, with 31% expecting a Bush-led ticket in 2016, 22% thinking Trump will win, and 14% predicting a Walker victory.
On the Democratic side, expectations are aligned behind former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Among all registered voters, 76% say they expect Clinton to be the Democratic Party’s nominee for president next year — that’s about the same as the 78% of Democratic and Democratic-leaning registered voters who say Clinton will wind up atop their party’s ticket. Just 9% of voters think Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is likely to win the nomination, 8% say Vice President Joe Biden will, although he has not entered the race.
The CNN/ORC International Poll was conducted July 22-25 among a random national sample of 1,017 adults, including 898 registered voters. Results for all registered voters have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. The registered voter sample included 419 Republicans and Republican-leaning independents as well as 392 Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents.