Every pundit who said the terrorist violence in Paris would dramatically shake up the race for the Republican presidential nomination, at least for now, appears to have gotten it backwards. Here’s the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll.
1. Donald Trump: 32% (unchanged since October)
2. Ben Carson: 22% (unchanged)
3. Marco Rubio: 11% (up one point)
4. Ted Cruz: 8% (up two points)
5. Jeb Bush: 6% (down one point)
When it comes to dealing with the threat of terrorism, roughly 4 in 10 Republican voters believe the New York land developer is the most reliable candidate in the GOP field. The latest national Fox News poll points in a very similar direction:
1. Donald Trump: 28% (up two points since early November)
2. Ben Carson: 18% (down five points)
3. Ted Cruz: 14% (up three points)
3. Marco Rubio: 14% (up three points)
5. Jeb Bush: 5% (up one point)
Note, Trump’s 28% backing is the best any candidate has fared in any national Fox poll so far this year; Carson’s five-point slide is the worst of his candidacy; and Cruz and Rubio combined only tie Trump.
If you’re inclined to look past national trends and focus more on polling from the early nominating states, take a look at the striking new Boston Globe/Suffolk poll of New Hampshire Republicans:
1. Donald Trump: 22%
2. Marco Rubio: 11%
3. Ben Carson: 10%
4. Ted Cruz: 9%
4. John Kasich: 9%
6. Jeb Bush: 8%
The key takeaway isn’t just Trump’s sizable lead at this point in the race. Rather, note that the New Yorker is ahead, not despite voters’ concerns about national security, but because of those concerns. In this case, the Globe/Suffolk poll found 25% of New Hampshire Republicans believe Trump is the “best equipped” candidate to respond to ISIS – nearly double his next closest competitor.
The article noted that New Hampshire GOP voters’ priorities “have changed in the aftermath of the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks in Paris,” and now 42% identify terrorism and national security as “the most important issues facing the country.”
And it’s those fears that have led many of these voters into Trump’s arms.
These results, by the way, are largely in line with the other major polls we discussed last week, all of which were conducted after the Paris attacks, and all of which show Trump in a dominant position.