Republicans by double-digit margins said they are willing to ditch their party to follow former President Donald Trump if he breaks out on his own, according to a new poll released Sunday.
Members of the GOP by 46 percent to 27 percent said they would put the Republican Party in the rear-view mirror if Trump creates his own, a USA Today/Suffolk University poll found.
“We feel like Republicans don’t fight enough for us, and we all see Donald Trump fighting for us as hard as he can, every single day,” Brandon Keidl, 27, a Republican and small-business owner from Milwaukee, told the pollsters.
“But then you have establishment Republicans who just agree with establishment Democrats and everything, and they don’t ever push back,” he said.
Half of those surveyed said they think the Republican Party should be “more loyal to Trump” — even if that means losing the support of those in the GOP establishment.
Nineteen percent said the party should pull away from Trump.
The survey showed that Trump’s support remains strong since he was acquitted in a Senate impeachment trial for stirring up his supporters to march on the Capitol Jan. 6.
Trump will deliver the keynote address at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando on Feb. 28.
He will speak on the “the future of the Republican Party and the conservative movement.”
Trump, who has been hosting Republican lawmakers at his Mar-a-Lago Florida resort since President Biden was inaugurated on Jan. 20, has vowed to retaliate against GOP congressional members who didn’t support him during the impeachment hearings.
Earlier this month, he blasted Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell as an “unsmiling political hack” who should be tossed from office.
“The Republican Party can never again be respected or strong with political ‘leaders’ like Sen. Mitch McConnell at its helm,” Trump said in a statement..
McConnell (R-Ky.) voted to acquit Trump of “incitement of insurrection” but provoked his ire when he said the former president was “practically and morally responsible” for the mayhem in a floor speech moments later.
In the House, 10 Republicans voted to impeach while seven Senators crossed the aisle to convict him.
Eighty percent of Republicans in the poll said they would not back a Republican candidate who voted to convict — a show of strong support for Trump, who has said he would try to recruit candidates to run against them in primary elections.
Francis Zovko, 63, a Republican from Jefferson Hills, Pa., told the pollsters that Trump doesn’t need to create a third party.
“I think he’s just going to, you know, take over the Republican Party, much as he did in 2016,” he said. “They all kind of thought he was a big joke, and by the end they weren’t laughing any more.”
The poll surveyed 1,000 Trump voters between Feb. 15 and Feb. 19.
It has a plus or minus 3.1 percentage points margin of error.