FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — The Republican establishment, after his three Tuesday night wins, continues to fret that Donald Trump is costing the party support among the demographics it most needs to court: Hispanics and women. And the candidate's behavior at a rally here Wednesday night — his second in the state this week — didn't give them any reason to feel comfortable with the idea of him becoming the nominee. It was another exercise in eviction. "This is lots more fun than a Trump rally, right?” the GOP front-runner yelled, watching as police in the Crown Coliseum forcibly removed protesters. An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released Wednesday showed 60 percent of voters think Trump is hurting the GOP's image. Some conservatives echoed those concerns at the Conservative Political Action Conference outside Washington last weekend.
But Republican primary voters in the NBC/WSJ poll were almost evenly split about whether Trump is positive or harmful to the party. Plenty of Trump's supporters, especially women for whom the economy is more important than social issues, told Roll Call they believe Trump is actually widening the GOP tent by bringing in not just new voters, but voters who see him as more willing to negotiate than Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.