Breaking News: Trump Apologizes

Photo and Copyright by DonkeyHotey. CC BY-SA 2.0.

Countless Republican officials publicly abandoned Donald Trump over the weekend, but a new poll shows that rank-and-file GOPers are standing by the Donald even after the release of a video revealing the nominee talking openly about groping women and scheming to seduce a married woman. While the video isn’t hurting Trump with his core supporters yet, the campaign’s reaction to the video could end up damaging the Donald’s ironclad reputation of misogyny, which many of his supporters regard as a plus.

A new poll by POLITICO and Morning Consult reveals that despite Trump’s lewd comments and his abandonment by party officials, most Republican voters want the party to stand by the candidate.

Only 12% of Republicans say that Trump should end his campaign after the release of the video, compared to 70% of Democrats. Even more significantly, only 13% of female Republicans say that Trump should pull out of the race, even though most voters say they thought Trump’s misogynistic comments reflected badly on his candidacy. Overall, Trump’s support has only dropped by 1% since the release of the video, well within the margin of statistical error.

74% of all voters, Democrat and Republican, voiced a negative opinion of the video, although how much voters have heard about the video is divided starkly along party lines. About half of all Democrats say they have heard “a lot” about the video, while only a third of Republicans say the same.

The poll was conducted on Saturday, the day after the video was released by The Washington Post, so the full fallout of the video may not have manifested just yet. We’ll definitely see Hillary make references to the video during Monday night’s debate. Hillary’s ads have highlighted Trump’s history of making derogatory comments about women, and the new video will contribute to the case that Trump is an irredeemable misogynist.

Adding to the pundits’ speculation that voters’ decision is ultimately “baked-in,” a week of scandals has yet to sway Donald Trump’s dedicated supporters. If the worst week in presidential politics hasn’t changed Trump supporters’ minds, the second debate scheduled for Monday, October 9, is not likely to change many minds.

Judging from Twitter, most Trump supporters just want the candidate to stop putting his foot in his mouth: they don’t mind his offensive beliefs, in fact, they love his xenophobic and misogynistic streak, but even they understand how voicing those beliefs hurts him in a “politically-correct” culture.

There is one aspect of the latest scandal that could actually harm Trump’s hold over his die-hard supporters: he apologized. In the aftermath of The Washington Post’s expose, Trump released a short video apologizing for his comments in 2005, which marks a milestone in a campaign wracked by constant controversy.

The Donald’s 90-second apology video will likely offend his core supporters more than the 11-year-old misogynistic video revealed by The Washington Post on Saturday. According to the POLITICO/Morning Consult, about 10% of Republicans voiced a favorable opinion of Trump’s misogynistic tirade. How many Republicans will approve of his apology video is not yet clear, but knuckling under pressure is not why Trump’s supporters back the firebrand candidate.