Former US president Donald Trump still commands the loyalty of Republican supporters despite being impeached for a second time over the storming of the US Capitol building in January, a new poll has found.
Reaffirming the thumping support that Mr Trump enjoys among GOP voters, the Suffolk University-USA Today survey released on Sunday found that nearly 46 per cent of the respondents would abandon the Republican party and support a new one floated by the former president.
“We feel like Republicans don’t fight enough for us, and we all see Donald Trump fighting for us as hard as he can, every single day,” Brandon Keidl, a 27-year-old Republican from Milwaukee, said in an interview after being polled. “But then you have establishment Republicans who just agree with establishment Democrats and everything, and they don’t ever push back.”
Earlier in January, there were reports that Mr Trump was considering creating a third party in order to discourage senators from voting to convict him during his impeachment trial.
Later Maggie Haberman, a reporter with the New York Times, said that Mr Trump had been talked out of it. “There’s also the fact that threatening a third party while simultaneously threatening primaries makes no sense, which some folks gently pointed out to him,” she wrote.
In the survey conducted among 1,000 Trump voters between 15 February and 19 February, nearly 80 per cent of the respondents said that they were less likely to vote for a Republican candidate who had supported the impeachment of their former commander in chief.
About 85 per cent of participants said that they would vote for Mr Trump in 2024 if he won the Republican nomination for president.
Over half of the respondents said that the Republican party need to become “more loyal” to Mr Trump, even if it comes at the cost of losing more establishment Republicans.
The aftermath of the Trump impeachment trial saw a glaring rift emerge within the GOP as the former president launched a scathing attack on Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, calling him a “dour, sullen and unsmiling political hack.”
Mr McConnell, though he had voted to acquit Mr Trump at the trial, said his former boss was “practically and morally responsible” for the riots that had killed five people.
Many GOP lawmakers fear that the squabble between the two Republicans is also going to have an impact on the party’s plans to win back the Senate majority in 2022 in the post-Trump era.