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AP-GfK Poll: Republicans View Donald Trump As Most Electable AP-GfK Poll: Republicans View Donald Trump As Most Electable

- (Huffington) - 1 years, 11 months ago...

EmbedContent(562d3737e4b0ec0a3894ca5a,,Embed,aolon,Some({})) WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican voters view Donald Trump as their strongest general election candidate, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll that highlights the sharp contrast between the party's voters and its top professionals regarding the billionaire businessman's ultimate political strength. Seven in 10 Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters say Trump could win in November 2016 if he is nominated, and that's the most who say so of any candidate. By comparison, 6 in 10 say the same for retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who, like Trump, has tapped into the powerful wave of antiestablishment anger defining the early phases of the 2016 contest. "It's the lifelong establishment politicians on both sides that rub me the wrong way," said registered Republican Joe Selig, a 60-year-old carpenter from Vallejo, California. "I think Trump is more electable. He's strong. We need strength these days." Trump and Carson are considered among the least electable general election candidates by the Republican Party's professionals, those who are in the business of helping candidates run campaigns and win elections. Experienced political strategists note that winning a general election and winning the Republican nomination are often very different tasks. The GOP's most conservative voters — a group that is older and whiter than the nation as a whole — wield extraordinary influence in picking the nominee. Independents, moderate voters and minorities are far more important in general elections that draw many more people to the polls. While Trump and Carson are popular in primary election polls, both have used divisive rhetoric in recent months that alienated some minorities. Trump called Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals during his announcement speech; while Carson said he would not support a Muslim presidential candidate. "Republicans think (Democrat) Hillary (Rodham Clinton) is weaker than she is. They are wrong," said GOP operative Katie Packer, who was deputy campaign manager for 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney. "They think we don't need to win more women or more Hispanics to win. They're wrong." ImageContent(562d3737e4b0ec0a3894ca5c,562d364a140000e800c7ac63,Image,HectorAssetUrl(562d364a140000e800c7ac63.jpeg,Some(),Some(jpeg)),ASSOCIATED PRESS,There's a rift between GOP voters' assessment of Trump's electability and that of the party's political experts.)  Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who has embraced a welcoming tone with Hispanics, tops the field of experienced political leaders on the question of electability, running about even with Carson and slightly behind Trump. Six in 10 Republicans say Bush could win the general election and 54 percent say the same about Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. There's a drop-off among the rest of the GOP...

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