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Republicans Trust Trump Over Ryan to Lead Party

by Mike Flynn

Republican voters would trust Donald Trump to lead the GOP by a wide margin over House Speaker Paul Ryan, according to a new survey from NBC News.

While Trump and Ryan have begun a “process” to unify the party ahead of the November elections, Republican voters nationwide have already made a clear choice.

A strong majority of Republicans, 58 percent, say they trust Donald Trump to lead the party, almost 20 points more than the 39 percent who would pick Paul Ryan to lead the party.

As the presumptive party nominee, Donald Trump is strengthening his grip on the Republican party. Ryan is now House Speaker, but four years ago was the party’s nominee for the Vice Presidency. Throughout the Presidential primary campaign, Ryan delivered a series of major policy speeches, designed to assert his leadership of the party going into the general election.

Ryan was also regularly floated as a potential last-minute candidate for President. Many speculated that Ryan could emerge from a contested convention as the Republican nominee, a scenario that Ryan didn’t publicly endorse.

Trump’s decisive win in the Indiana primary ended the campaigns of his remaining challengers, putting to rest any possibility of a contest convention. In the days immediately following Trump’s effective clinching of the GOP nomination, Speaker Ryan publicly demurred from backing Trump.

The public slight necessitated last week’s “unity” meeting between Trump and Ryan. After the meeting, Ryan said he was “encouraged” by the conversation, but again withheld an endorsement of the GOP frontrunner.

According to this survey, Ryan is losing this conversation with Republican rank-and-file voters. Close political observers had seen the rise of Trump in the primaries as a rebuke of the more accommodating tone towards President Barack Obama adopted by House Republicans.

At the end of 2015, Speaker Ryan had ushered through Congress an omnibus spending bill that funded all of Obama’s policy initiatives, including ObamaCare, and broke the spending caps that had been implemented five years ago.

Speaker Ryan has also been one of the leading voices among Republicans for comprehensive immigration reform, Washington code for greatly expanding immigration into the U.S. Ryan has also emerged as a leading critic of Trump’s proposals to curtail refugee resettlement from war-torn Syria and explore a temporary ban on Muslim migration into the U.S. Ryan has also been a vocal defender of pending trade agreements negotiated by the Obama Administration under a veil of secrecy.

The NBC survey suggests that Trump’s rise isn’t merely a reaction to Ryan’s leadership of the House, but a complete takeover of the Republican party. In exit polling during the primary campaigns, around a majority of Republicans said they were “angry” at Washington and felt “betrayed” by Republican party leaders.

Republicans have acted on these feelings of betrayal, according to this survey. Ryan positioned himself as the leader of the Washington-consensus for Republicans. As a result, his vision has been eclipsed by that of Donald Trump.

The NBC survey is an on-line poll of 14,100 adults conducted by SurveyMonkey. The question on Trump and Ryan are pulled from a sub-sample of 3,434 Republican voters nationwide.

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