Polls show Trump still unpopular despite recent wins
Republican 2016 presidential candidate Donald Trump has caught the media's attention this year, gaining both supporters and opposers.
The first primary of the election season in New Hampshire reeled in results on Tuesday showing a landslide win for Trump on the Grand Old Party (GOP) side with 35.3 percent of delegate votes.This was a sharp contrast to a recent Gallup poll, revealing him as the most unfavorably viewed presidential candidate with 60 percent un-favorability.
In response to the poll and New Hampshire primary results, Najum Junaid, political director of the Rutgers University College Republicans and a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore, said Trump is in a good position to continue his early successes, provided his current support holds.
There is still several months before the general election, so a lot can still change, he said.
Junaid cannot speak personally about any candidate as a member of the group's executive board, but said any of the main Republican candidates would succeed as president.
“Trump's experience as a businessman and public persona attract supporters. He also excels at isolating important topics and debating, which contributes to his popularity,” he said.
Danielle Pocock, co-president of Rutgers University Democrats and a Rutgers Business School senior, holds a different view on the GOP presidential nomination candidate.
“Personally, Trump frightens me,” Pocock said. “The fact that so many people are following him and wholly supporting him is troubling. He's racist, he's a bully and he says these awful things that, no matter what, seem to always be supported by a large portion of this country.”
Pocock believes believes Trump's rise really demonstrates the huge divide in the U.S., which does not sit well with her.
“I don't believe he is a good candidate for the GOP, and I believe the GOP would agree with me. He is a hothead that they can't control, which is why so many people really like him,” she said.
Mark Apuzzo, a School of Arts and Sciences senior, said he thinks the poll is representative of the general public.
“I definitely think he is an extremely unappealing candidate, and I know many other people who feel the same way,” Apuzzo said. “If the country is theoretically a 50-50 split between democrats and republicans, then I would believe that almost every democrat and about 10 percent of republicans don't like him, so the poll seems valid to me on a surface level.”
Depending on whom they actually polled changes the objective accuracy of it all, Apuzzo said.
Since the College Republicans is a big tent organization, they have supporters of almost every single candidate, and try to showcase the viewpoints of all candidates so members can best decide whom they support, Junaid said.
“The (Rutgers University College Republicans), as an arm of the Republican Party on campus, cannot endorse any candidate until the nomination process is complete, at which time we will support the party's nominee,” he said.
As for the results of the Gallup poll, Junaid said that since it claims to have been conducted as a population wide study, his ratings among Republicans likely differs from the given results.
“All candidates have their supporters and detractors, and those more popular or more vocal often have louder voices in support and opposition — Trump is no exception,” Junaid said. “Some of his comments have been particularly volatile, which paradoxically contributes to both his support and unfavorable rating.”
Trump is viewed unfavorably because of his racist and extreme views, not because he is a Republican, Pocock said.
There will always be democrats and republicans who hate the other side simply because they are the other side, she said, but at this point, democrats view him so unfavorably because of his views.
“I certainly think he might be the most extreme presidential candidate the GOP has had in recent years, but clearly he has a huge following in the country," Pocock said.
There are people who do like him, his views sadly align with many Americans' views, she said.
“He may be the most unfavorably viewed candidate for those that don't agree with him, but it doesn't reflect what the public in general thinks. I don't think he will win though,” she said.
Samantha Karas is a School of Arts and Sciences senior majoring in journalism and media studies and English. She is a correspondent for The Daily Targum. Follow her on Twitter @samanthakaras for more.