A new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows two-thirds of likely voters — 68 percent — think Donald Trump “probably has made unwanted sexual advances toward women.”
Trump's support level in the poll, though, remains at 40 percent. That means there are a significant number of people who believe that statement to be true but are voting for him anyway.
The number, as it turns out: 18 percent. That's nearly 1 in 5 likely voters and half of Trump's base of support.
The number is the latest evidence that a very large number of Republican-leaning partisans remain willing to overlook Trump's myriad flaws and continue to stand by him in 2016.
Earlier in the campaign, we found similar numbers when it came to those who thought Trump had said a racist thing or was appealing to people's prejudices.
Back in June:
- 42 percent of Trump backers said it was “racist” for Trump to say that a judge of Mexican descent, Gonzalo Curiel, was inherently biased against him because of his ethnicity.
- 41 percent of Trump backers said Trump was unfairly biased against women, minorities and Muslims.
- 33 percent of Trump backers said he was unqualified to be president.
Similar to the new poll, 18 percent of voters overall said back then that Trump said something racist but were still in his corner, and 15 percent of all voters said he was biased against women and minorities but were still ready to cast a ballot for him.
The numbers were about the same during Trump's feud with the Khan family.
These voters are the reason the bottom hasn't completely fallen out for Trump. Put plainly: There remain many people on the GOP side of the ledger who are more than willing to acknowledge Trump's faults to a pollster. But nothing he's done has convinced them not to vote for him or to cross over for Hillary Clinton.
At the same time, it does appear to be costing him at least some support. Trump's deficit in national polls has climbed over the past week in most polls, even as the Post-ABC poll shows him within 4 points overall.
And even the Post-ABC poll suggests Trump backers have perhaps been confronted with one too many controversies. While in our last poll in late September, 91 percent of Trump backers said they were enthusiastic about the election, that number is down significantly to 79 percent in this poll.
That's lower than the 83 percent of Clinton backers who are enthusiastic about the 2016 election and is a historically low number this late in the presidential election in the 21st century.
It's another reminder: Trump's controversies may not tank his poll numbers — but that doesn't mean he's not paying a price.