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Nearly 1 in 5 GOP Primary Voters on Tuesday Didn’t Vote for Trump

Even if just a sliver of protest voters stay home in November, it could spell disaster for the GOP nominee.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to supporters during a rally at the Dayton International Airport on March 16, 2024 in Vandalia, Ohio.

Although former President Donald Trump has attained more than enough delegates to secure the Republican Party’s nomination for the 2024 presidential contest, his primary election numbers are likely worrying his campaign team.

On Tuesday night, Trump easily won all five Republican contests. But he isn’t winning near-universal support from GOP voters, as a significant number of those taking part in the primaries are opting for alternate candidates.

In Ohio, for example, more than one in five voters (20.8 percent) chose to vote for an option other than Trump. In Arizona, 22.1 percent of voters opted for other choices. Kansas saw nearly a quarter of all voters taking part in the Republican primary voting against Trump, with 24.5 percent choosing someone else. In Illinois, 19.3 percent voted against him.

Even in Florida, a state with a closed primary — where voters who are not registered as Republicans are barred from taking part — Trump still struggled slightly, with 18.8 percent of GOP voters selecting options other than the presumed nominee.

Exit polling data out of Ohio’s primary shows that dissatisfaction with Trump as the Republican nominee could seriously impact his chances in the fall. According to an ABC News exit poll, 18 percent of voters in the primary said they wouldn’t be voting for Trump in November, with 10 percent saying they’d back Biden and 8 percent saying they simply wouldn’t vote.

Looking at the 2020 presidential election results from Ohio and extrapolating the exit poll data from this week’s primary, if 10 percent of voters who selected Trump that year chose to back Biden instead this year, it would mean Biden would win by around 155,000 votes — and that’s not even counting the 8 percent who say they won’t back Trump if he’s still the nominee come November.

National polling data is indicating that Trump is currently beating Biden — just slightly and within most polls’ margins of error — according to an average of polling data, with the GOP nominee ahead by around 2 points. However, there’s another problem facing Trump: In several contests so far, he has underperformed in primaries compared to what polls predicted. In the New Hampshire primary, for example, Trump was expected to defeat his Republican opponents by 19.3 points; in the end, that spread dropped by 8.1 points.

Even if Trump underperforms by just a fraction of that rate, particularly in swing states, it could spell doom for his chances at the White House come November.

Meanwhile, Trump is already laying the groundwork for false claims regarding the legitimacy of the 2024 election. According to an analysis from The Wall Street Journal, Trump has been telling his followers at campaign rallies that they need “a landslide” win in November to ensure that a supposedly “rigged” result won’t keep him from beating Biden.

“We have to win so that it’s too big to rig,” Trump recently said.

Trump’s suggestions that the election might be rigged this year are not backed by evidence of any kind.

Trump’s recent talk of a “rigged” election echoes his false claims regarding the legitimacy of the 2020 election. Just as he is doing now for 2024, Trump claimed that the 2020 election would be rigged before it was even held. Even before the 2016 election — which Trump won — Trump falsely alleged that an election loss would indicate that fraud had taken place.

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