If The Donald needed a bit of an ego boost heading into tonight’s debate (okay… I choked a bit typing that phrase) he got one from Monmouth last night. Though he was already pretty much crushing the field nationally and in all the states except possibly Iowa, the pollsters recorded Trump breaking the 40% barrier for the first time in that survey and threatening to hit the “Game Over” benchmark of 50. (Politico)
Donald Trump just got a little more vault in his ceiling. Nationwide, the polling-obsessed Manhattan multi-billionaire and leading Republican presidential candidate broke into the 40s on Monday.
According to the results of the latest Monmouth University poll surveying voters identifying as Republican or independents leaning toward the GOP, Trump earned 41 percent, nearly tripling the support of his closest rival, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who took 14 percent.
The poll underscores Trump’s success at keeping voters fixated on his unprecedented presidential campaign. The latest national survey was taken after Trump landed another whopper, proposing in an emailed statement last Monday to temporarily ban all Muslims from entering the U.S. The statement gave Trump another boost of media attention, and some speculated it was designed to shift the conversation away from a Monmouth poll from Iowa released earlier that day that showed Cruz with a 5-point edge in the state.
I suppose we have to inject the normal caveat here and remind ourselves that this is one poll and it needs to be repeated a few times to consider the numbers as a solid trend. (It’s worth noting that the latest WaPo/ABC poll came out on the same day and gave Trump 38, so that may not take long.) But how many times have we said that before? Trump came out in favor of banning Muslim immigration for a while and the media (along with all of his establishment opponents) freaked out. Doom and gloom were projected. And as we’ve seen every single time that Trump has “stumbled badly” on the trail, one week later he’s climbing further up the stairway to the nomination. (Finding out that we’re not even bothering to check the social media profiles of visa applicants probably hasn’t hurt Trump’s image of prescience on the subject.)
But this number is a bit more jarring than the previous ceilings we were assured Trump couldn’t break. Rush Limbaugh did the math yesterday.
If the sum total of all the other candidates is a number greater than Trump’s 30%, then you would have to say that the voters who supports somebody other than Trump is a greater number than what Trump’s is. So as the field winnows, as it will, it’s really important where those voters go. Say if Christie gets it. I’m just picking names here. I don’t know who’s gonna get out. If Christie gets out, Rand Paul gets out, if Kasich, Fiorina, where do their voters go? If their voters go to Cruz, big, go to Trump, also big. This we won’t know for a while, which is why I just found it extremely interesting the way Trump chose to go after Cruz, echoing the Republican establishment. I mean, one of the reasons Trump is doing so well is that he is perceived as the biggest anti-establishment candidate of the bunch.
I think also in this Monmouth poll that shows Trump at 41, you can’t take San Bernardino out of that. The fact that the San Bernardino thing happened and the Regime’s response to it has been pathetic, and Trump is the one guy who has stood up, and without any excuses, proclaimed what he would do.
Rush’s point about doing simple addition here is now becoming the dominant story when you’re talking about a number in the forties. There was an assumption being made in the media for quite a while – and some are still clinging to it today – that there would eventually be a winnowing of the establishment side of the field and the surviving “Anti-Trump” candidate would scoop up the rest of the votes and defeat him. But out of the 13 candidates debating tonight, there are nine who are not named Trump, Carson, Fiorina or Cruz and if you add up the support that all of them get into one basket, they still don’t make it to anywhere near 40. Supporters for Carson and Fiorina are likely of a mindset where if you gave them a choice between a GOPe contender and burning down the capital they’d probably excuse themselves to go shopping for some Jerry Cans and make a quick trip to the gas station.
And that leaves Cruz. Yes, he’s one of the ones with an office using a 20045 zip code, but he’s probably hated by the establishment candidates as much or more so than Trump. If there’s anyone with a D.C. office who might eventually adopt some of Trump’s supporters at this point, it really looks like the Texas senator. Barring a major sea change (with precious little time for that to happen) this is starting to look like a two person race and the numbers simply aren’t there for a Jeb, Rubio or Chris Christie comeback.