First Post-Debate Poll Shows Trump Still Dominating, And The GOP Is Absolutely Freaking Out

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We got our first glimpse at how the Republican candidates fared in the highly watched Fox News primary debate, and it’s probably not what many in the GOP had hoped. Despite a concerted effort by the moderators to destroy Donald Trump, including devoting several questions intentionally designed to make him look like a jackass, Trump is still way out in first. Nobody else even comes close.

According to the poll conducted online by NBC, The Donald is still supported by an embarrassing 23 percent of Republican voters. In comparison, his nearest competition is now Sen. Ted Cruz, with a mere 13 percent. In all, the top candidates are also the least likely to ever actually win a general election, meaning the Republican Party has a LOT of sleepless nights ahead of them.

Interestingly, the candidates most supported by Fox News and Republican insiders all did terribly. Jeb Bush, Sen. Marco Rubio, and Gov. Scott Walker have all fallen into the single digits and well below their much less established, much-less-funded competitors. Bush in particular is struggling. He has out-raised everybody and many in the right-wing media act like he is practically a shoo-in for the nomination. What does it say that he seems almost universally hated by Republican voters?

It’s hard to comprehend how badly many Republican insiders are freaking out right about now. In the debate and in the days since, the combined weight of the right-wing media, punditry, lobbyists, and politicians have been thrown at Trump in the hopes of destroying his toxic campaign… and it has done nothing. (In fact, he’s actually improved slightly according to this poll.) This is not unlike nuking Godzilla only to find out that the radiation has made him stronger. The question must be asked: Has the Republican Party gotten so rotten at the core that Donald Trump can’t be stopped?

But wait, it gets worse.

Another question asked in the poll was whether the voter would consider voting for Trump even if he ran as an independent. The results seem to confirm what other polls have already suggested: If Trump goes independent, the Republican Party as we know it will essentially collapse. A whopping 54 percent of “Trump supporters” say they’ll leave the Republican Party if Trump isn’t nominated. Extrapolated from his 23 percent overall support and we can see that around 10 percent of likely voters simply won’t vote for another Republican if they kick Trump out. Hillary Clinton is already polling much higher than any Republican candidate, but if Trump runs independent, it will be a landslide.

It’s hard not to feel a great deal of schadenfreude in all of this. After all, the Republican Party has spent the last seven years riling up its own base into a bubbling mixture of xenophobia, paranoia and distilled directionless rage. It’s now manifesting itself in Trump and they can do nothing to put the genie back in the bottle. As Matt Taibbi wrote recently in Rolling Stone magazine:

“Trump’s followers are a gang of pissed-off nativists who are tired of being laughed at, belittled, dismissed, and told who to vote for. So it seems incredible that the Republican establishment thinks it’s going to get rid of Trump by laughing at, belittling and dismissing him, and telling his voters who they should be picking.”

In other words: You brought this entirely on yourselves when you thought it would hurt President (Barack) Obama. Now that it has spectacularly backfired, can you blame the rest of us for doubling over in laughter?

Reprinted with permission from Addicting Info