Buchanan Leads Trump Among "Likely" Reform Party Voters

by David W. Moore

But neither candidate attracts more than 10% of vote in general election race

GALLUP NEWS SERVICE

PRINCETON, NJ -- With political commentator Pat Buchanan about to announce his candidacy for the Reform Party nomination for president in 2000, and businessman Donald Trump establishing an exploratory committee to assess his presidential possibilities within the same party, a new Gallup poll shows that almost four in ten Americans say they are either "very" or "somewhat" likely to participate in the Reform Party's primary balloting. Among this group, Buchanan is favored over Trump by 54% to 33%, with the rest undecided. In a hypothetical general election race, with either Buchanan or Trump pitted against Vice President Al Gore and Texas Governor George W. Bush, each Reform Party candidate would fare about the same -- with Buchanan receiving 9% of the vote and Trump 10%.

The number of Americans who actually participate in the Reform Party balloting is almost certain to be smaller than the 38% who now indicate they would likely ask for a ballot and then send in their preference. Voter turnout models developed by Gallup and other polling organizations over the past several decades all recognize that when answering polls Americans are more optimistic about the likelihood of their voting than is warranted by their actual turnout on election day. Nevertheless, even if "only" the 16% who said they are "very" likely to participate in the Reform Party nomination process are counted, Buchanan still leads Trump by about the same margin as noted before, 52% to 33%.

Majority of Americans Do Not View Buchanan and Trump as "Serious" Candidates
The low level of support for both Buchanan and Trump is related to their images among the American public as non-serious candidates. Despite Buchanan's having run for president twice before, less than half of Americans -- 44% -- say they view Buchanan as a "serious" candidate for president. An even smaller number, 23%, say they view Trump as a serious candidate. By comparison, 22% say they regard Jesse Ventura as a serious candidate, while 16% say that about Oprah Winfrey, 13% about Warren Beatty, and 6% about Cybill Shepherd -- all of whom have been mentioned in the news recently as possible presidential or vice-presidential candidates.

Even among Americans who say they view Buchanan as a serious candidate, just 16% say they would vote for him in a three-way contest that includes Gore and Bush. Among those who view Trump as a serious candidate, however, 31% would vote for him in a similar three-way contest.

Reform Party Loyalty Weak
Most of the respondents who indicate they might participate in the Reform Party balloting process nevertheless do not intend to vote for a Reform Party candidate in the general election, even if their preferred candidate wins the nomination. Among self-identified Reform Party voters who prefer Buchanan to Trump, just 21% would then go on to vote for Buchanan in the general election against Gore and Bush. While this number seems low, it would be even lower if Buchanan lost the nomination: only 6% of his supporters would remain loyal to the Reform Party and vote for Trump in the general election. Trump supporters are no more loyal to the party than Buchanan's. If Trump won the nomination, 41% of his supporters would then vote for him in the general election; but if he lost, just 7% of his supporters would vote for Buchanan in the general election.

Minimal Impact of Reform Party on General Election
Many Republicans worry about Buchanan's abandoning the Republican Party to become a Reform Party candidate, in the expectation that a Buchanan candidacy would draw more votes from the Republicans than Democrats. While much is likely to change in the next year, an analysis of the current poll suggests that either a Buchanan or Trump candidacy would draw almost equally from Republicans and Democrats. Buchanan receives 9% of the Republican, 11% of the independent, and 7% of the Democratic vote; while Trump receives 6% of the Republican, 25% of the independent, and 10% of the Democratic vote. Among those who would vote for Bush in a two-way contest with Gore, 8% say they would vote for Buchanan in a three-way race -- the same percentage of Gore voters who would vote for Buchanan if he were a candidate. A similar pattern holds for a Trump candidacy -- 9% of Bush supporters in a two-way race would vote for Trump in a three-way contest, compared with 8% of Gore supporters who would support Trump.

While the percentages of likely defections are about equal, Bush's greater support now means that the net effect of the Reform Party candidates is a slight reduction in the margin by which Bush leads Gore. In a hypothetical contest with just Bush and Gore, the Texas governor enjoys a 16-point lead, 56% to 40%. That margin is reduced by 3 percentage points if Buchanan is part of a three-way contest, to 51% to 38% (with 9% for Buchanan); and the lead is reduced by just 2 percentage points if Trump is a candidate, to 51% to 37% (with 10% for Trump).

Survey Methods
The results reported here are based on telephone interviews with a randomly selected national sample of 976 adults, 18 years and older, conducted October 8-10, 1999. For results based on the whole sample, one can say with 95 percent confidence that the maximum error attributable to sampling and other random effects is plus or minus 3 percentage points. The sample includes 347 respondents who are "very" or "somewhat" likely to participate in the Reform Party balloting. The margin of error for this subsample is plus or minus 6 percentage points. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

Now suppose that the year 2000 presidential election were being held today, and it included Al Gore as the Democratic candidate, George W. Bush as the Republican candidate, and Political commentator, Patrick Buchanan, as the Reform Party candidate. Would you vote for -- [ROTATE 1-3: 1) Al Gore, the Democrat, 2) George W. Bush, the Republican, 3) Patrick Buchanan, the Reform Party candidate]?

As of today do you lean toward Gore, the Democrat, Bush, the Republican, or Buchanan, the Reform Party candidate?

  Sep 23-26, 1999 Oct 8-10, 1999
Al Gore 37% 38%
George W. Bush 49 51
Patrick Buchanan 9 9
NONE (vol.) 3 *
OTHER (vol.) * *
No opinion 2 3
  100% 100%

Now suppose that the year 2000 presidential election were being held today, and it included Al Gore as the Democratic candidate, George W. Bush as the Republican candidate, and Businessman, Donald Trump as the Reform Party candidate. Would you vote for -- [ROTATE 1-3: 1) Al Gore, the Democrat, 2) George W. Bush, the Republican, 3) Donald Trump, the Reform Party candidate]?

As of today do you lean toward Gore, the Democrat, Bush, the Republican, or Trump, the Reform Party candidate?

Al Gore 37%
George W. Bush 51
Donald Trump 10
NONE (vol.) *
OTHER (vol.) *
No opinion 2
  100%

Next, we'd like to get your overall opinion of some people in the news. As I read each name, please say if you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of this person -- or if you have never heard of him or her. First, ... How about... [RANDOM ORDER]

  Favorable Unfavorable Never Heard Of No opinion
A. Al Gore
(NA) 1999 Oct 8-10 54% 42% 1% 3%
(NA) 1999 Sep 23-26 55 40 * 5
(NA) 1999 Aug 16-18 58 37 * 5
(NA) 1999 Aug 3-4 52 40 1 7
(NA) 1999 Jul 22-25 53 35 1 11
(NA) 1999 Jun 25-27 56 39 1 4
(NA) 1999 Apr 30-May 2 55 37 1 7
(NA) 1999 Apr 13-14 54 39 1 6
(NA) 1999 Feb 19-21 59 33 1 7
(NA) 1999 Feb 4-8 61 31 * 8
(NA) 1998 Dec 28-29 57 28 1 14
(NA) 1998 Sep 14-15 56 32 2 10
(NA) 1998 Feb 13-15 57 33 2 8
(NA) 1998 Jan 30-Feb 1 62 31 1 6
(NA) 1998 Jan 24-25 56 32 1 11
(NA) 1998 Jan 23-24 55 33 1 11
(NA) 1997 Dec 18-21 50 37 3 10
(NA) 1997 Oct 27-29 53 38 1 8
(NA) 1997 Oct 3-5 47 42 1 10
(NA) 1997 Sep 25-28 51 39 2 8
(NA) 1997 Sep 6-7 55 32 3 10
(NA) 1997 Jun 26-29 57 32 1 10
(NA) 1997 Apr 18-20 56 34 1 9
(NA) 1997 Mar 24-26 57 31 2 10
(NA) 1997 Jan 3-5 60 26 2 12
(LV) 1996 Oct 26-29 61 31 1 7
(RV) 1996 Aug 30-Sep 1 61 27 2 10
(RV) 1996 Aug 28-29 60 26 2 12
(RV) 1996 Aug 16-18 59 30 * 11
(RV) 1996 Aug 11 59 29 1 11
(NA) 1996 Jan 12-15 52 34 2 12
(NA) 1995 Jan 16-18 57 29 3 11
(NA) 1994 Sep 6-7 56 31 2 11
(NA) 1994 Apr 22-24 60 28 2 10
(NA) 1994 Mar 25-27 56 29 2 13
(NA) 1994 Jan 15-17 62 26 3 9
(NA) 1993 Nov 2-4 49 30 -- 21
(NA) 1993 Jul 19-21 55 30 -- 15
(NA) 1993 Apr 22-24 55 24 -- 21
(NA) 1993 Jan 18-19 63 22 -- 15
(NA) 1992 Nov 10-11 56 28 -- 16
B. Former New Jersey Senator Bill Bradley
(NA) 1999 Oct 8-10 53 20 9 18
(NA) 1999 Sep 23-26 44 14 21 21
(NA) 1999 Aug 16-18 48 11 18 23
(NA) 1999 Apr 13-14 46 10 20 24
(NA) 1999 Feb 19-21 38 9 33 20
C. Texas Governor George W. Bush
(NA) 1999 Oct 8-10 70 25 1 4
(NA) 1999 Sep 23-26 71 22 1 6
(NA) 1999 Aug 16-18 68 21 1 10
(NA) 1999 Jun 25-27 69 16 4 11
(NA) 1999 Apr 13-14 73 15 3 9
(NA) 1999 Feb 19-21 69 12 5 14
D. Political Commentator Pat Buchanan
(NA) 1999 Oct 8-10 29 52 6 13
(NA) 1999 Sep 23-26 32 45 8 15
(NA) 1999 Mar 5-7 31 40 9 20
(RV) 1996 Aug 5-7 27 56 3 14
(NA) 1996 Mar 15-17 28 57 2 13
(NA) 1996 Feb 23-25 38 49 2 11
(NA) 1996 Jan 12-15 25 49 10 16
(NA) 1995 Jul 7-9 30 40 10 20
(NA) 1995 Apr 17-19 27 43 9 21
(NA) 1995 Mar 17-19 29 35 10 26
(RV) 1992 Apr 20-22 27 55 3 15
(RV) 1992 Mar 20-22 35 49 4 12
(RV) 1992 Mar 11-12 30 49 5 16
(RV) 1992 Feb 28-Mar 1 38 41 7 14
(NA) 1992 Jan 31-Feb 2 32 36 14 18
(NA) 1992 Jan 3-6 34 28 20 18
E. Minnesota Governor, Jesse Ventura
(NA) 1999 Oct 8-10 37 45 7 11
(NA) 1999 Sep 23-26 51 25 12 12
(NA) 1998 Dec 28-29 53 14 16 17
F. Businessman, Donald Trump
(NA) 1999 Oct 8-10 33 58 2 7
(NA) 1999 Sep 23-26 41 47 3 9

The Reform Party will hold a primary next year to choose its presidential nominee and currently plans to give a primary ballot to every registered voter who asks for one. How likely is it that you would participate in the Reform Party's presidential primary next year -- very likely, somewhat likely, not too likely, or not likely at all?

Very likely 16%
Somewhat likely 22
Not too likely 23
Not likely at all 38
No opinion 1
  100%

In terms of the Reform Party ticket for president, which of the following two possible candidates would you prefer to see win the Reform Party nomination for president -- [ROTATE: Pat Buchanan or Donald Trump]?

BASED ON -- 347 -- VERY/SOMEWHAT LIKELY TO VOTE IN REFORM PARTY PRIMARY; ± 6 PCT PTS

Pat Buchanan 54%
Donald Trump 33
OTHER (vol.) 1
NONE (vol.) 8
No opinion 4
  100%

Regardless of whether or not you would vote for the following people, please say whether you would view each as a serious candidate if he or she decided to run for president. First, ... . How about ... [RANDOM ORDER]?

  Yes No No opinion
A. Pat Buchanan 44% 53% 3%
B. Donald Trump 23 74 3
C. Jesse Ventura 22 74 4
D. Oprah Winfrey 16 82 2
E. Warren Beatty 13 82 5
F. Cybill Shepherd 6 90 4

(vol.) volunteered response
(NA) national adults
(RV) registered voters
(LV) likely voters

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Gallup http://www.gallup.com/poll/3535/Buchanan-Leads-Trump-Among-Likely-Reform-Party-Voters.aspx
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