U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump arrives to speak at a campaign event in Waterloo, Ia., Oct. 7, 2015. 
Photo by Jim Young/Reuters

Latest polling challenges assumptions about Trump, Clinton

For much of the summer, Donald Trump’s support in Republican presidential polling went in one unmistakable direction:  up, or more accurately, up quickly. As summer turned to fall, and a poorly reviewed debate performance took the wind from the frontrunner’s sails, the New York developer stopped dominating the GOP field.
But from some of the recent chatter, one might think Trump was suddenly struggling. The new national CBS News poll offers clear evidence to the contrary.
1. Donald Trump: 27% (unchanged since September)
2. Ben Carson: 21% (down two points)
3. Ted Cruz: 9% (up four points)
4. Marco Rubio 8% (up two points)
5. Jeb Bush: 6% (unchanged)
5. Carly Fiorina: 6% (up two points)
7. Rand Paul: 4% (up one point)
8. Chris Christie: 3% (up two points)
9. Mike Huckabee: 2% (down four points)
9. John Kasich: 2% (down one point)
The remaining candidates had support of 1% or lower.
At least in this poll, a plurality of Republicans now sees Trump as the most electable GOP candidate. What’s more, 53% of Republican voters have a favorable opinion of Trump, which is slightly better than Rubio, and second only to Carson’s 62%.
Those waiting for the frontrunner’s seemingly inevitable demise will apparently have to keep waiting. Trump’s collapse has not arrived, and there isn’t a GOP candidate in the race who wouldn’t gladly trade places with him.
A similar dynamic exists in the race for the Democratic nomination. The same poll found these results:
1. Hillary Clinton: 46% (down one point)
2. Bernie Sanders: 27% (unchanged)
3. Joe Biden: 16% (up one point)
There was a steady stream of polls over the summer in which the size of Clinton’s advantage over Sanders was steadily shrinking. This and other survey data suggests that trend has leveled off, with the former Secretary of State maintaining a national lead of around 20 points.
As for Vice President Biden, the near-constant speculation about his plans has been a major topic of conversation, but the spotlight has not yet given Biden a bump in national polling.
Without Biden in the race, the CBS News poll shows Clinton’s lead over Sanders growing to 24 points, 56% to 32%.