In the wake of the terrorist violence in Paris, there was no shortage of pundits who made a specific prediction: the race for the Republican presidential nomination would finally turn away from Donald Trump.
And while the New York developer may yet falter, the latest evidence suggests the attacks have done little to derail the Trump campaign. Here’s a new national Bloomberg Politics poll:
1. Donald Trump: 24% (up three points from September)
2. Ben Carson: 20% (up four points)
3. Marco Rubio: 12% (up four points)
4. Ted Cruz: 9% (up four points)
5. Jeb Bush: 6% (down seven points)
And here’s the new Fox News poll out of New Hampshire:
1. Donald Trump: 27%
2. Marco Rubio: 13%
3. Ted Cruz: 11%
4. Jeb Bush: 9%
4. Ben Carson: 9%
6. John Kasich: 7%
7. Chris Christie: 6%
While Rubio and Cruz are clearly competitive with double-digit support, note that their combined backing still trails Trump. The poll is roughly in line with the latest WBUR poll, which also surveyed New Hampshire Republicans, and found Trump with double the combined support of Rubio and Carson, his next closest competitors.
Note, all three of these polls were conducted in the days after the Paris attacks. In other words, if the terrorism was going to drive voters away from the inexperienced candidates and into the waiting arms of more establishment candidates, it hasn’t happened yet.
On the contrary, by some measures, Trump’s support has never been higher than it is right now.
We’ll find out soon enough whether that lasts, but the idea that Paris would lead to Trump’s downfall overlooks many of the reasons Trump has been such a force for months. Think about his message over the last week: block refugees, bash President Obama, go after mosques, and “bomb the s**t out of ISIS.”
Does that sound like a pitch that’s going to resonate with Republican primary voters? Of course it does. Indeed, if you’re a far-right voter, who are you going to trust be “tough,” some politician in Congress or the bombastic, unapologetic frontrunner who never backs down?
Update: Just minutes after I posted this, the new national PPP poll reached my desk:
1. Donald Trump: 26% (down one point since early October)
2. Ben Carson: 19% (down two points)
3. Ted Cruz: 14% (up seven points)
4. Marco Rubio: 13% (unchanged)
No other Republican topped 5% in the poll, which was also conducted after Friday night in Paris.