While many Republicans inside Washington see Paul Ryan as the leader of the Republican Party, voters see things differently. According to results from the most recent election tracking poll, a majority of Republican and Republican-leaners who say they are registered to vote trust Donald Trump more to lead the Republican Party than they trust Paul Ryan. Nearly six in 10 trust the presumptive Republican presidential nominee to lead the Republican Party over the House Speaker; nearly 4 in 10 trust the Speaker more.
These results are according to the NBC News|SurveyMonkey Weekly Election Tracking poll conducted online from May 9 through May 15 of 14,100 adults including 12,507 registered voters.
While Trump and Ryan engaged in a cordial meeting last week, Ryan still has yet to endorse Trump. The meeting was a move to create unity within the Republican Party after a tumultuous primary season. Some have speculated that Ryan will eventually endorse Trump, especially if Trump gives him some reassurances on his policy positions. Trump will have to get the support of all Republican groups to win in the general election and party unity is an important step to victory.
The question of party unity often times has been examined within the context of ideology. Early on in the primaries, Trump did less well with very conservative voters. Interestingly, very conservative voters show a higher level of trust for Trump over Ryan. Sixty three percent of Republicans who identify as very conservative said they trust Trump more than Ryan to lead the Republican Party. Only 34 percent of very conservatives trust Ryan over Trump. Conservatives also trust Trump over Ryan but the margin is narrowed from 29 points among very conservatives to 17 points among conservatives – 57 percent to 40 percent. Moderates favor Trump over Ryan by the same margin as conservatives.
Although Trump has a majority of support of voters from all ideological perspectives, there is still an apparent split within the party as more conservatives and moderates trust the House Speaker to lead the Republican Party than do very conservatives.
The NBC News|SurveyMonkey Weekly Election Tracking poll was conducted online May 9 through May 15, 2016 among a national sample of 14,100 adults aged 18 and over, including 12,507 who say they are registered to vote. Respondents for this non-probability survey were selected from the nearly three million people who take surveys on the SurveyMonkey platform each day. Results have an error estimate of plus or minus 1.2 percentage points. A full description of our methodology and the poll can be found here.