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Trump’s big primary wins masked quiet weaknesses

via CBS
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Donald Trump has dominated the Republican primaries, but remains weak among key voter groups that cost him reelection in 2020.

While winning over 90% of GOP voters, Trump has not improved his standing in the suburbs or with moderates and independents.

Exit polls showed Nikki Haley outperforming Trump in suburban areas across several states, though Trump won handily overall.

“That’s the big lesson from the primary states so far: There are a significant number of Republican voters who wanted a choice in this primary process, and they are people the former president has to win over by the time November comes around,” former aide to Haley Rob Godfrey said. “He can do it if he runs a disciplined campaign on policy and not personality, and one that focuses on the perceived failures of his opponent.”

Trump also trailed Haley among Republicans who view Biden’s 2020 win as legitimate or support legal status for undocumented immigrants.

Some GOP voters said Trump would be unfit if criminally convicted.

“We can learn a little bit from these primaries — for one, Trump has reenergized his base,” Republican pollster Adam Geller said. “But beyond that it remains to be seen, because all the public polls show that moderate general-election voters aren’t ready to give a bouquet of roses to either Trump or Biden quite yet.”

“I actually feel like I’m throwing away my vote today,” Nashville physician Cory Barnett said. “It’s just a personal statement, I guess.”

The results highlight Trump’s enduring difficulties broadening his base and attracting voters beyond his loyal base.

“Trump can’t expand his reach beyond the MAGA base,” Biden campaign aides Jennifer O’Malley Dillon and Julie Chávez Rodríguez wrote. “In exit poll after exit poll, he has consolidated support only among the most conservative voters.”

Both Trump and Biden remain unpopular, with Biden struggling to hold his 2020 coalition as well.

The primaries leave both nominees weakened and facing challenges in appealing to a broader range of voters in the general election.

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