Donald Trump has widened his lead among Republicans who work for the federal government, according to a new survey, with his closest opponent for the GOP nomination trailing by 15 points.
Thirty-two percent of federal employees who identified as Republican or Republican-leaning Independents said they would vote for the real estate mogul during the campaign primaries in a poll released Friday by the Government Business Council, the research arm of Government Executive Media Group. Trump’s support was similar in an October GBC survey, but his lead has grown as the GOP field shakes out.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, ranked second among the same group, with 17 percent saying they would vote for him in the primary election. Cruz was in fifth place among federal employees three months ago, with just 4 percent of respondents supporting him, a dip from an earlier GBC survey last August when he garnered 9 percent support.
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., came in third place, as he has in all GBC surveys this cycle, winning 12 percent support. Ben Carson followed in fourth place, falling 13 percentage points since October. In that survey, the retired neurosurgeon came in second place with 22 percent. Carly Fiorina, the former Hewlett Packard executive who has made trimming the federal workforce and reforming the civil service a major platform in her campaign, has seen her support drop in each of the three GBC polls.
In August, Fiorina came in second place with 11 percent; in October, fourth place with 8 percent; and is currently in eight place with 3 percent. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was the biggest climber in the survey aside from Cruz, jumping 5 percentage points and into fifth place.
On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton held on to her sizable lead over Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., among Democrats or Democratic-leaning federal workers. Clinton won a majority of support, taking 51 percent to Sanders’ 35 percent. Her lead is virtually identical to her October results, though her overall support has grown.
Clinton remains a divisive figure across the federal workforce, however; just 35 percent of feds view her favorably, compared to 62 percent who view her unfavorably. A whopping 94 percent of Republicans hold a negative opinion of the former secretary of State, the lowest marks for any candidate by a single party’s respondents. Clinton’s ratings were similar to those of Trump's, who held a net favorability of minus 31.
Sanders, meanwhile, held the highest favorability rating of any candidate in either party with a 44/48 percent favorable/unfavorable split. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., was the most disliked candidate, with his 65 percent unfavorable rating 48 points higher than his positive scores. Ohio Gov. John Kasich received the most positive marks of any Republican, with even 27 percent of Democrats viewing him favorably.
The poll was sent to a random sample of Government Executive print and online subscribers from Jan. 20-26; 688 federal employees, representing over 30 civilian and defense agencies, completed the survey. Of those, 35 percent identify as Independents, 28 percent as Democrats, and 26 percent as Republicans. The margin of error is plus or minus 4 percent.