Donald Trump Supporters: Here's What Makes Them Tick

Who are the people behind Trump's surge in the polls?

BySUMMER FIELDS, VERONICA STRACQUALURSI, CONOR KELLY, JILL ORNITZ, LOUISE SIMPSON and RYAN STRUYK
July 23, 2015, 10:45 AM

— -- GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump maintained his grip on the headlines this week, surging to 24 percent support in the race for the Republican nomination, according to the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll.

The bump in the polls comes even as some criticized Trump for questioning whether Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., is a war hero, and releasing the personal cellphone number of fellow GOP presidential candidate Lindsey Graham.

So who are the faces behind the real estate mogul’s 11-point lead in the polls?

ABC News reached out to the actual people who participated in our poll -- and we asked them why they are supporting Trump.

These conversations with voters suggest that Trump's campaign has given a voice to real frustration and public anger, drawing support that crosses party lines and cites a range of policy concerns.

The student

It all started with a school project for Brittany Clemenps, a 20-year-old college student from Hershey, Pennsylvania. Trump’s charity work stuck out to her while she was researching him for class, and she thinks it’s interesting that he’s funding his own campaign. She identifies as a Republican and is also interested in fellow business-savvy GOP competitor Carly Fiorina. Overall, she cites her support for Trump as stemming from the belief that “putting someone in that hasn’t had the experience and doesn’t have the skills isn’t a good idea.”

Graham 'a weasel'

If James Hollingsworth were in Trump’s shoes, he would have given out Sen. Lindsey Graham’s cell phone number, too. “I don’t like the man. He’s a weasel and he ain’t never done anything for South Carolina,” said the retiree, who lives in Graham’s home state. Hollingsworth also defended Trump’s comments on Sen. John McCain, saying his words were twisted. “[Trump] is for the American people. He’s not for these rich folks,” he said. “They was born into politics, into money, and they ain't had to get their hands dirty.” Still, Hollingsworth is making up his mind. His alternative? Bernie Sanders.

Job hunter

Kobe Miles just wanted a fast food job. But the 21-year-old recently returned home to Michigan from California where he had searched for work, unable to land “the simplest job – a cook at McDonalds.” That’s when Miles said he was drawn to Trump’s immigration views. “There was a hiring sign and I asked if they were hiring and they said no,” he added. “The workers you could all tell that they were pretty much… of some Latin descent.” The independent says he backs Trump, despite what he admits are some “pretty harsh” comments from the GOP contender because he has “some pretty good views about the country right now.”

The crossover

Trump’s supporters are even crossing party lines: Patricia Gregory, 81, is actually a Democrat – but she plans to vote for Trump. Gregory, from Tallahassee, Florida, told ABC News that both her father and uncle were captured while serving in World War II, but she agrees with Trump that “being captured does not make you a hero.” “I just really am in favor of Donald Trump,” she said. “I feel like we need somebody strong at the helm.” Her second choice candidate – Jeb Bush.

Trump a 'no BS kind of guy'

Spencer Hunsucker says he has worked with undocumented immigrants in his job as an electrician in Terre Haute, Indiana – and he’s throwing his support behind Donald Trump. “I think [Trump] made some valid points,” the 31-year-old independent said of Trump’s announcement speech. Hunsucker also says that Trump’s financial success could make a difference. “He is no BS kind of guy. He’s very straightforward. And he might be able to help with the nation’s debt,” he told ABC News. “I think he would cut out a lot of wasteful spending that we have.”

Not taking 'any bull'

Trump’s outsider status is what makes the difference for David Runious, 47. “I like Trump. I think he’s a hardass. I think we need a hardass in there,” the Louisiana auto repairman said. “I don’t think he’s going to take any bull,” Runious continued. “All the working people are tired of taking care of the nonworking people.” And even though Runious voted for John McCain in 2008, he says Trump’s comments on the Arizona Senator are “kind of the truth.” His backup plan? Another Washington outsider: Ben Carson.

'A snowball's chance in hell'

Anthony DiMario is a fan of Trump – even though he says Trump has a “snowball’s chance in hell of getting elected on either side...or as an independent.” The 62-year-old small business owner wouldn’t go so far as to say he supports Trump as the Republican nominee, but he would “probably vote for him, just to see how far” his candidacy could go. DiMario, an independent from Baltimore, Maryland, says Trump will start “running this country as a corporation and not a political fighting arena.”

It's the economy, stupid.

The most important thing for Darwin Fortney? The economy. The 66-year-old from Pawhuska, Oklahoma is a Democrat -- but still a Trump supporter. He believes Trump is “for the people” and has a better grasp on the economy than the other candidates because of his business background. He went on to say that Trump “says some good things and says some bad things just like everyone else.” And if Trump drops out, Fortney says his vote would “go to Sanders!"

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