Poll: GOP Voters Sticking With Trump After 2005 Recording

According to a new poll from Politico/Morning Consult, Republican voters are largely unaffected by the audio recording released Friday that showed Donald Trump sharing off-color remarks with Access Hollywood host Billy Bush in 2005. Despite a wave of condemnation from top Republicans, conservative voters want the party to keep supporting the nominee.

Unless you have been unconscious since Friday, you’ve heard the tape. In it, Trump makes comments about women that have proven difficult for even his paid surrogates to defend. And while most of us have heard – perhaps even said –  worse, it’s still unsettling to hear the comments from someone who wants to be the president of the United States.

Fortunately, Trump hasn’t asked us to defend the remarks and he hasn’t made any attempt to defend them himself. He issued a heartfelt apology on Friday, admitted that he was wrong to say those things, and reminded voters that Hillary Clinton’s husband has engaged in actions that go well beyond locker-room rhetoric.

“I’ve never said I’m a perfect person nor pretended to be someone that I’m not,” Trump said in a videotaped apology later Friday night. “I’ve said and done things I regret and the words released today on this more than a decade old video are one of them.”

According to the Politico poll, Republican voters are already prepared to forgive, forget, and move on, while Democrat voters believe that Trump should leave the race:

Overall, fewer than four-in-10 voters — 39 percent — think Trump should end his presidential campaign, while only slightly more voters, 45 percent, think he should not drop out.

But voters are largely viewing Trump’s comments through their own partisan lens: 70 percent of Democrats say Trump should end his campaign, but just 12 percent of Republicans — and 13 percent of female Republicans — agree.

Beyond that, 74% of Republican voters think the GOP establishment should continue to back Trump; only 13% think the party should cut him loose.

For his part, Trump has said that he will “never” drop out of the race.

At the end of the day, there are a few things to remember. One, these comments weren’t made last week; they were made 11 years ago. Two, every Trump supporter is already quite familiar with the fact that our imperfect nominee has a tendency to let his mouth get him in trouble. Three, if there was tape rolling on us 24 hours a day for the next month, many of us would be recorded saying things that would seem equally offensive when broadcast on CNN. Random “guy banter” is not a window into a man’s soul.

And finally, one more time: This election is a binary choice. Hillary Clinton is a devious criminal who wraps herself in sheep’s wool. Donald Trump is, on the other hand, the rarest of breeds: a sinner who does not pretend to be holy. Trump’s flaws are out there for everyone to see; Hillary’s chasm of corruption is disguised by countless layers of illusion.

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