Uh oh: Trump down nine points after debate in new Rasmussen national poll

I’m not telling you these polls are correct, just like I didn’t tell you yesterday that that bombshell Morning Consult survey showing Trump rising to 32 percent after the debate was correct. We’re tracking all of the polls this week to see what the consensus says, as that’ll be a reasonably good indicator of where the race really stands right now.

The good news for Trump fans via Rasmussen: He’s still leading the field. The bad news: For the first time since the start of Trumpmania, he’s losing ground rather than gaining it.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds Trump with 17% support among Likely Republican Primary Voters, down from 26% in late July before the first GOP debate.  Senator Marco Rubio and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush are in second place with 10% support each, in a near tie with Fiorina and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker who both earn nine percent (9%) of the likely primary vote…

Fiorina, former CEO of Hewlett-Packard and the candidate generally viewed as the winner of the B-level debate last Thursday evening, has jumped eight points from one percent (1%) support in the previous survey…

Rubio has doubled his level of support from five percent (5%) in late July. Carson has gained slightly. Walker has fallen back five points, while support for Bush and Cruz has held steady.

Fiorina and Rubio both had strong debates on Thursday so an accurate poll should, one would think, show them building support since last week. That’s what Rasmussen shows, to the point where Carly’s now in the top five. Moreover, one of the theories by Trump naysayers about his polling is that it’s deceptive insofar as it’s picking up (in some cases) supporters who are unlikely to actually vote in the Republican primaries. Ask an average American adult who’s not politically engaged who he/she prefers in a field of Donald Trump and 16 unknowns and you’re likely to hear “Donald Trump” in reply — even if that person has no intention of casting a ballot. Rasmussen seeks to control for that by polling only likely Republican voters. Within that group, they’re finding a nearly 10-point drop for Trump since last week.

That’s not the only poll out today with bad news, though. Suffolk polled Iowa and found Trump still leading there at 17 percent, which is in line with how we was doing in several pre-debate polls there over the last few weeks. Among people who watched the debate, though, the results were ominous:


When asked if Trump was targeted unfairly by Fox’s moderators, 54 percent said no. When asked who was the most impressive at the debate, 23 percent said Marco Rubio, 22 percent said Ben Carson, and 11 percent said Ted Cruz. Slightly less than 11 percent said Trump. (For what it’s worth, despite Carson disappearing during the debate for long stretches, I’ve heard several conservative friends say how impressed they were with him. If Trumpmania begins to fizzle, Carson may be the guy who starts picking up Trump’s “no more politics as usual” support despite the fact that they’re polar opposites in personality.) Although Trump’s favorable rating in Iowa is now net positive at 45/37, he’s far behind his most serious competitors there in that metric: Scott Walker is at 73/13, Rubio is at 72/12, Carson is at 78/7(!), and Cruz is at 64/17. Quote:

“It appears that Donald Trump’s lead is strong so long as the number of active opponents remains above a dozen,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston. “If the Republican field were winnowed down to five or six candidates, Trump’s 17 percent probably wouldn’t be enough to win in Iowa, as polling indicates that his further growth has limitations. The long-shot candidates staying in the race help keep Trump on top—at least for now.”

One more poll for you, this from another early state. The Boston Herald and Franklin Pierce University polled New Hampshire after the debate and found, once again, Trump still in the lead. But he wasn’t the big mover this time — and his support was noticeably lower than it’s been in other recent NH polls:

The last four polls in New Hampshire had Trump at 21, 24, 24, and 32 points; this is the first time he’s been below 20 since late June. No crosstabs available yet, but presumably it’s the rising Kasich and Fiorina who have gobbled up some of his support. Kasich’s strategy, a la Jon Huntsman, is to all but skip Iowa and camp out in New Hampshire, hoping to stun the establishment frontrunner in the primary there next year and launch himself into serious contention for the nomination. Nate Cohn of the NYT looked at that Herald poll this morning and wondered if this month will be remembered in hindsight not for Trumpmania but as the month when Kasich became a serious enough contender in New Hampshire to threaten Jeb Bush. If you’re a Trump fan who’s bummed out about his new numbers, take some comfort in that. If Kasich cuts deeply enough into Jeb’s take in NH, it could enable some other candidate to sneak through to victory, all but destroying Bush’s campaign before it gets going. Second look at Kasich?