Say what you will — Donald Trump certainly does, and it’s still paying off. A new CNN poll shows Trump’s star still rising, up eight points in a month to go to 32%. His nearest rival, Ben Carson, has gained more ground in that time, 10 point, but still has a 13-point deficit in trailing Trump at 19%. No one else makes double digits in the new poll:
Donald Trump has become the first Republican presidential candidate to top 30% support in the race for the Republican nomination, according to a new CNN/ORC Poll, which finds the businessman pulling well away from the rest of the GOP field.
Trump gained 8 points since August to land at 32% support, and has nearly tripled his support since just after he launched his campaign in June. The new poll finds former neurosurgeon Ben Carson rising 10 points to land in second place with 19%. Together, these two non-politicians now hold the support of a majority of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, and separately, both are significantly ahead of all other competitors.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush stands in third place with 9%, down 4 points since August, and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz holds fourth place with 7%. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker follow at 5%, with all other candidates at 3% or less, including Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who notched the only other statistically significant shift in the poll by falling 5 points since August.
Walker dropped from 8% to 5% in the past month, which is within the MoE but clearly not going in the right direction. Fiorina remained relatively unchanged at 3%, which puts her ahead (nominally, anyway) of Chris Christie and John Kasich at 2%, and Bobby Jindal in a crowd at 1% or less. Fiorina gets listed seventh on this poll, and seems on track to participate in the main-stage debate next week on CNN. That should make for an interesting moment or two, considering Trump’s remarks about Fiorina’s appearance, and CNN must be licking its chops at the potential.
The second-choice question works out similarly, although with different numbers. Trump and Carson are virtually tied, 18/16 respectively, with Bush coming in third at 10%. Fiorina jumps up to fourth place with 8%, passing Cruz and Rubio at 7% in a tie. Walker trails badly on this measure too, coming in behind Christie and Mike Huckabee, both of whom get 5% to Walker’s 3%.
Right now, the enthusiasm is with the two front-runners. In a small sample of registered Republican voters (307 respondents), Trump and Carson are the only two GOP candidates to register over 21% for “enthusiastic.” In fact, Carson actually edges Trump on this measure, 43/40, and a little more substantially in “Satisfied but not enthusiastic,” 33/27. Trump gets 19% on “upset,” the second-worst rating in the poll after … Jeb Bush, who gets 21%.
Finally, the issue responses from the whole sample are worth noting. The leading “extremely important” responses on issues are the economy (52%), Social Security/Medicare (50%), and terrorism (49%), with education and health care tied for a close fourth (47%). Illegal immigration doesn’t get to 40%, and neither do foreign policy, taxes, abortion, or income inequality. Global warming comes in dead last at 23%. Keep this in mind when it comes to messaging in the primaries, and especially in the general election.