Donald Trump’s shtick may be getting old.
In Wisconsin, host of the next big Republican primary, a new poll shows Texas senator Ted Cruz ahead by 10 percentage points in what should be prime Trump country: a state with a high percentage of non-college educated white, Republican voters.
But even Trump’s base may be flagging: A new national survey shows that every demographic group has a negative view of the real estate developer—even white men, who were previously his stalwarts.
It could be a stamina problem. When Trump hosted the ”Apprentice” reality shows, he made a big splash—and then ratings quickly sunk. At one point, Trump threatened to quit before NBC could fire him, though the network and the host patched things up.
Political analysts have long predicted that Trump’s offensive rhetoric would eventually make him politically radioactive, but that hasn’t happened. His flip-flop immunity (on full display yesterday as he suggested punishing women who obtain abortions before retracting the idea) insulates him from traditional message problems.
And the deep roots of his appeal in the Republican party have made it easy for establishment figures like former Bush consigliere Karl Rove to run ads on his behalf and GOP eminence grise Paul Manafort to join his campaign.
But maybe the real story of Trump failure is just boredom. He’s still the odds-on favorite to emerge with the Republican nomination this summer, but when it comes to durable appeal, history suggests there are diminishing returns. As his negatives rise and his offensiveness becomes trite, maybe voters will just change the channel.