Republicans Have Mostly Stayed Loyal to Their Party In the Trump Era

Whenever the topic of Donald Trump’s continuing popularity among Republicans comes up, somebody asks if maybe it’s just an artifact of the polling. If moderates are abandoning the Republican Party because of Trump, then simple arithmetic says that most of the folks who are left will be big fans. So then: are people abandoning the Republican Party? Luckily, Charles Franklin has just taken a look and here are his results:

Roughly speaking, not much has happened. Since 2016, Democratic Party ID has been flat at about 46 percent and Republican Party ID is slightly down from 42 percent to 41 percent. There’s just not a lot going on here.

I’ve chosen to highlight the chart that includes leaners, since a lot of research shows that leaners are as reliably Republican as self-professed partisans.¹ They just don’t like to admit it for some reason. However, Franklin has a full set of charts in this thread, including party ID charts that exclude leaners. They show a little more movement—around 4 percentage points—but that’s still a pretty modest amount, and they’ve probably just migrated from Republican to Lean Republican anyway.

Bottom line: at most, there’s been a slight decline in the number of self-IDed Republicans over the past couple of years. But for practical purposes, it’s about zero. All those Republicans who say they love Donald Trump are the same ones who loved Mitt Romney and John McCain and George Bush. They’re just Republicans.

¹Ditto for Democratic leaners.


Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2019 demands.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.


We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.