While many Republicans inside Washington see House Speaker Paul Ryan as the leader of the Republican Party, voters see things differently.
A majority of Republican and Republican-leaners who say they are registered to vote trust Donald Trump over Ryan to lead the GOP, according to results from the most recent election tracking poll.
Nearly six in 10 trust the presumptive Republican nominee to lead the Republican Party over the House speaker, while nearly four in 10 trust the speaker more.
These results are according to the NBC News/SurveyMonkey Weekly Election Tracking poll conducted online from May 9 through May 15 of 14,100 adults, including 12,507 registered voters.
While Trump and Ryan engaged in a cordial meeting last week, Ryan hasn’t endorsed Trump. The meeting was a move to create unity within the Republican Party after a tumultuous primary season.
Trump will need the support of all Republican groups to win in the general election and party unity is an important step to victory. Some have speculated that Ryan will eventually endorse Trump, especially if Trump gives him some reassurances on his policy positions.
The question of party unity often has been examined within the context of ideology. Early on in the primaries, Trump did less well with very conservative voters. Interestingly, very conservative voters show a higher level of trust for Trump over Ryan.
Sixty-three percent of Republicans who identify as very conservative said they trust Trump more than Ryan to lead the Republican Party. Only 34 percent of very conservatives trust Ryan over Trump. Conservatives also trust Trump over Ryan but the margin is narrowed from 29 points among very conservatives to 17 points among conservatives — 57 percent to 40 percent. Moderates favor Trump over Ryan by the same margin as conservatives.
Although Trump has a majority of support of voters from all ideological perspectives, there is still an apparent split within the party as more conservatives and moderates trust the House speaker to lead the Republican Party than do very conservatives.