The nuances of his policy positions and ideology aside, Donald Trump occupies a unique lane in the 2016 presidential race. He’s an accomplished, famous, straight-talking businessman, unburdened by the tarnish of being a Washington insider with a dissectible voting record, wealthy enough to self-fund his campaign, and thus presumably immune to the pressures of special interests and major donors. Undoubtedly, at least some of the Trump zeitgeist owes to the fact that nobody joins him in that lane.
But what if someone did? Is it possible that people are more attracted to someone who fits Trump’s profile than to Trump himself? One way to test that idea would be to ask voters about another person who has a similar background and profile. But who?
In a recent interview with Stephanie Ruhle from Bloomberg, entrepreneur and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was asked about Trump’s campaign and stated plainly that he “would do a better job” than Trump as President. Bravo to Ms. Ruhle for asking the question. Can you think of anyone who fits the criteria of Trump’s ‘successful, famous, no-B.S., Washington-outsider’ lane any better than Cuban?
Before I type another word, I need to disclose that Mark Cuban is a formal advisor to CivicScience and a mentor to me personally. I also know that the odds of Mark running for President this year are near-zero. None of that stopped me from exploring the concept.
After hearing the Bloomberg comments, we launched a nationwide survey of 2,061 U.S. adults, pitting Cuban and Trump against one another in a hypothetical presidential election. Sufficed to say, Donald Trump is fortunate that Mark Cuban or someone like him isn’t in the race.
These numbers show a potential head-to-head race that isn’t even close. Cuban would win comfortably.
When we dug into the demographics, the reasons are pretty clear. Cuban beats Trump handily among self-identified Liberals (78%-22%), women, anyone under age 45, minorities, urban dwellers, and people with a college degree or higher. He wins among self-identified “Independents” by 10 points.
Trump wins with Conservatives (71%-29%), men, whites, people 45+, and those living in rural areas. In his defense, Trump would probably beat Cuban in a Republican primary today. A general election, however, could go the other way, big.
It’s clear that a large portion of the American public has an appetite for a maverick presidential candidate right now. Imagine how entertaining the race would be if Donald Trump wasn’t the only one they had to choose from.
Interested in more political insights? Check out how this election has affected families and stress levels, the current sentiment surrounding the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), and how Trump’s presidential run wasn’t as unpredictable as you may think.