Poll: Kasich, Cruz voters prefer Trump as second choice

Nearly half of the supporters of Ohio Gov. John Kasich would vote for Donald Trump, not Ted Cruz, as their second choice, according to the results of a Quinnipiac University national poll released Wednesday. And more than half of Cruz’s backers suggested they would do the same with their man out of the race.

Asked whom they would like to win the GOP nomination, 43 percent of the 652 Republicans surveyed said they wanted Trump to emerge as the party’s choice in Cleveland, followed by 29 percent for Cruz and just 16 percent for Kasich, with 9 percent undecided.

In a head-to-head matchup between Trump and Cruz among supporters of Kasich, the Manhattan real-estate mogul earned 46 percent support, compared to 37 percent for Cruz and 12 percent undecided. While the Texas senator drew slim advantages among tea party supporters, white, born-again evangelicals and those describing themselves as very conservative, Trump drew far greater support from Kasich supporters who described themselves as somewhat conservative, moderate or liberal, as well as among men, women and those 45 years and older.

In the event Cruz is the odd man out, 56 percent said they would vote for Trump, with just 25 percent opting for Kasich and 13 percent undecided. More than seven-in-10 (71 percent) of Cruz’s tea party supporters said they would vote for Trump over the Ohio governor, along with strong majorities in every demographic and ideological group, including those describing themselves as moderate or liberal.

On the Democratic side of the race, 50 percent said they would prefer Hillary Clinton as their party’s nominee, while 38 percent wanted Bernie Sanders and 10 percent did not know.

Matched up against Trump and Cruz, both Clinton and Sanders lead by as much as 14 points, as is the case of Sanders’ lead in a hypothetical race with Trump. On the other hand, Kasich outperformed both Democrats when tested head-to-head, leading Clinton 47 percent to 39 percent and Sanders 45 percent to 44 percent.

On which candidate they definitely would not support, 54 percent overall said they would never vote for Trump in November, while 43 percent said the same of Clinton, 33 percent for Cruz, 27 percent for Sanders and 14 percent for Kasich.

Asked which words they would use to describe their feelings toward a Clinton or Trump presidency, the results carried some whopping negatives. The word “disaster” led the way for Clinton, with 68 mentions, followed by “good” (51 mentions), “scared” (49), “disappointed” (43) and “hopeful” (41).

For Trump, the results are even more absymal. The top word: “scared,” with 117 separate mentions, followed by “disaster,” “frightened,” “terrified,” horrified” and “disgusted.” The first positive word for Trump, “good,” was only the sixth-most frequent word mentioned by registered voters.

Quinnipiac conducted the poll from March 16-21 by landline and cellphone, surveying 1,451 registered voters nationwide with an overall margin of error of plus or minus 2.6 percentage points. The sample includes 652 Republicans with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.8 percentage points and 635 Democrats with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.9 percentage points.

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