Despite the 2020 race being far from over, Republican voters already have opinions about their next Presidential nominee.
On July 8th, a poll of Republicans in Maine’s second congressional district, conducted by SurveyUSA and commissioned by FairVote, was released. This poll surveyed 604 Republicans likely to vote in next week’s congressional primary, which will utilize ranked choice voting. Respondents were also asked to rank their choices for the 2024 Republican Presidential primary from a list of potential candidates to analyze the initial state of the race and the trends in crossover support between candidates. The 2024 Maine Presidential primaries will utilize ranked choice voting, so these trends could determine how delegates are awarded.
This analysis was only possible because respondents ranked their choices. A poll only collecting first choices would miss how votes might be redistributed in the actual election. And while 2024 may feel like a lifetime away, a ranked choice voting analysis of those potential candidates reveals much about how Republicans in Maine feel about conservative leadership today.
The clear frontrunner is Vice President Mike Pence, but the way candidates were ranked shows that the race isn’t completely straightforward. Pence is not only the leader, but also the Condorcet winner, meaning that he wins a head to head with every other candidate. However, if Pence decided not to run, second choices indicate that Senator Ted Cruz has the edge. In 2016, Maine voted for Cruz by 13 points in the Republican caucuses. While Florida Senator Marco Rubio came in last among first choices, the Condorcet loser was Ivanka Trump, meaning that she would lose a head to head against every other candidate, including Rubio.
The overlap between Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr. is notable, however. They have crossover support from each other’s voters, and it is significant enough that if Ivanka did not run, Donald Jr. would be in second place.
This Trump overlap extends to Donald Trump Sr. Voters who strongly approve of the current president are also more likely to choose either Donald Jr. and Ivanka as their first choice. Both younger Trumps earn about 3% more, a shift that is statistically significant for each of them. Additionally, this increase rolls over to second choices, and the crossover between Ivanka and Donald Jr. is larger among voters who strongly approve of their father.
Finally, the crossover support from the congressional primary is intriguing in terms of candidate gender. Supporters of Adrienne Bennet, the only female candidate in the congressional race, were twice as likely to be Ivanka Trump or Nikki Haley supporters than Brakey or Crafts supporters. This crossover between female candidates is the strongest relationship between support for congressional and presidential candidates.
Infogram link: https://infogram.com/.