Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump greeets supporters before he delivers his message during a campaign rally at the state fair in Oklahoma City, Sept. 25, 2015.
Photo by J Pat Carter/AP

Poll: Trump leads, but negatives are high


A new national poll shows Donald Trump maintaining his lead in the race for the Republican presidential nomination — but it also brings some less positive news for the bombastic businessman.

In a Suffolk University/USA Today survey, Trump was the choice of 23% of those who said they planned to vote in the GOP primaries. That put him ahead of neurosurgeon Ben Carson and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, who each had 13%. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who has enjoyed a wave of positive coverage lately, had 9%, while former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush had 8%, and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz had 6%.

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Rounding out the field were Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee with 2% each, and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie with 1% each.

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But the poll offered further evidence that Trump could struggle if and when the field gets narrowed down. His favorability rating among all likely voters is just 27%, the lowest in the GOP field. More importantly, among likely Republican voters, he has a higher unfavorabilty rating than any of his close rivals.

According to the poll’s cross tabs, 50% of likely Republican voters said they have a favorable view of Trump, while 37% said they had an unfavorable view. By contrast, Carson’s numbers among Republicans were 68% favorable, 9% unfavorable. Fiorina’s were 61%/17%. And Rubio’s were 60%/13%.

Even Bush, who is deeply distrusted by the party’s conservative wing, had favorability numbers among likely GOP voters no worse than Trump’s. Forty-six percent said they had a favorable view of the former Florida governor, compared to 34% who had an unfavorable view. 

Asked for one word to describe Trump, 10% of all voters — not just Republicans — offered “idiot,” “jerk,” “stupid,” or “dumb.” Another 6% said “arrogant,” and an additional 6% said “crazy” or “nuts.”

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The poll also found that 65% of all voters oppose eliminating federal funding from Planned Parenthood, as congressional Republicans are currently seeking to do.

It put President Obama’s approval rating at 47%, up from 44% in July.

And a worrying 40% of voters said they would not vote for a qualified Muslim for president, compared to 49% who said they would. Carson said recently that a Muslim shouldn’t be president.

The telephone poll of 1,000 likely 2016 voters was conducted Sept. 24-28. The margin of error is +/-3 percentage points for the results that include all voters, and +/-5.03 percentage points for the Republican primary voters, Suffolk said.

Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and Polling

Poll: Trump leads, but negatives are high