Trump tumbles from huge lead in polls to slightly less huge lead

CNN/ORC released their latest presidential polling results this morning, just in time for the Sunday show line-up. Their big tease prior to the reveal had been, “Have Trump’s comments about John McCain finally eroded his support?”

The answer is apparently… no. (From

The new CNN/ORC Poll finds Trump at 18% support among Republicans, with former Florida governor Jeb Bush just behind at 15%, within the poll’s margin of error.

They are joined at the top of the pack by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, with 10% support among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents who are registered to vote. Trump’s backing has climbed 6 points since a late-June poll, while support for Bush and Walker has not changed significantly.

None of the other 14 candidates tested in the new CNN/ORC survey earned double-digit support.

That 18% number is lower than the more spectacular 24% figure we saw last week, but it’s worth remembering that CNN/ORC uses their own metrics and all the leaders tend to run a bit cooler in that poll. Also, it’s not as if he dropped from 24 to 18. The same poll had him at 12 a month ago, so he’s clearly on the rise and what we’re seeing is a difference in question structure and participant selection.

At virtually the same time that CNN was dumping their numbers, NBC/Marist released two new sets of early state polling results. Perhaps Trump has begun stumbling there? Well… not so much. (From NBC News)

First New Hampshire:

Donald Trump is running strong in the early nominating states of Iowa and New Hampshire, according to two new NBC News-Marist polls.

Trump leads the Republican presidential field in New Hampshire, getting support from 21 percent of potential GOP primary voters. He’s followed by Jeb Bush at 14 percent, Scott Walker at 12 percent and John Kasich at 7 percent.

Chris Christie and Ben Carson are tied at 6 percent in the Granite State, and Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz are at 5 percent each.

In Iowa there may be one place where Trump isn’t in first, but he’s not far off.

In Iowa, Walker and Trump are in the Top 2 – with Walker at 19 percent among potential Republican caucus-goers and Trump at 17 percent. They’re followed by Bush at 12 percent, Carson at 8 percent, Mike Huckabee at 7 percent and Rand Paul at 5 percent.

To be fair, that poll ran for quite a while and The Donald’s New Hampshire performance slid a fair bit after the McCain comments, but not enough to take him out of the top slot. And a difference of two points is no difference, since it’s inside the margins. For all intents and purposes, Trump and Walker are tied in Iowa.

The full numbers were announced on Jake Tapper’s State of the Union broadcast and he took a fifteen minute phone call from Trump live on the air as soon as he finished reading them. It was a fairly aggressive, wide ranging interview, but Trump came off very well. In fact, as much as I might want to, I’m having a hard time staying mad at Donald Trump. I’m still completely turned off by his McCain war record comments (and no, I’m not getting into the whole thing again this morning) but I can’t deny the appeal of most of the rest of what Donald is selling this summer.

Okay… I can’t stay mad at you, ya big galoot. If you’re the nominee I’ll vote for ya. I can’t risk a “Hillary by default” vote on my conscience.

But does that mean that he’s going to be the nominee? I’d still be surprised, but I won’t put the chances at zero anymore. The trick will still be to hold on to this sort of a lead after the field is trimmed down and some of the less realistic hopefuls drop out. We’re still in the stage where a relatively tiny plurality can make you a big name and Trump is eating up more than 60% of the media coverage according to one recent analysis. But if he’s still in there against only two or three other strong contenders, can he increase his numbers?

I guess I can’t discount the possibility at this point. But if he pulls it off, then he’s got to figure out how to beat Hillary.