The conventional wisdom tells us that Donald Trump’s days as the frontrunner for the Republican nomination are numbered. His collapse is imminent. The air will escape this balloon soon. Any minute now. You’ll see.
And while it remains entirely possible, if not likely, that Trump’s GOP support will eventually evaporate, that day has not yet arrived. Late yesterday, Fox News released the results of its new national poll, taken after last week’s debate.
1. Donald Trump: 26% (up one point from last month)
2. Ben Carson: 18% (up six points)
3. Carly Fiorina: 9% (up four points)
3. Marco Rubio: 9% (up five points)
5. Ted Cruz: 8% (down two points)
6. Jeb Bush: 7% (down two points)
7. Chris Christie: 5% (up two points)
8. John Kasich: 4% (unchanged)
9. Mike Huckabee: 3% (down three points)
10. Rand Paul: 2% (down one point)
11. George Pataki: 1% (unchanged)
Jim Gilmore, Rick Santorum, Bobby Jindal, and Lindsey Graham each had support below 1%.
Note, Trump’s 26% is up only slightly, but it’s still the best any Republican candidate has fared in any Fox News poll this year. What’s more, the fact that Trump’s support went up at all is itself something of a surprise – the same poll found that Fox respondents considered his debate performance the worst of any GOP candidate, though evidently, that didn’t matter to his core supporters.
This is obviously just one survey, but the results are largely in line with a new national Quinnipiac poll, which was released this morning:
1. Donald Trump: 25% (down three points from last month)
2. Ben Carson 17% (up five points)
3. Carly Fiorina 12% (up seven points)
4. Jeb Bush: 10% (up three points)
5. Marco Rubio: 9% (up two points)
6. Ted Cruz: 7% (unchanged)
7. Mike Huckabee: 2% (down one point)
7. Chris Christie: 2% (down two points)
7. John Kasich: 2% (down three points)
10. George Pataki: 1% (up one point)
10. Rand Paul: 1% (down one point)
As with the Fox poll, the Quinnipiac poll showed Jim Gilmore, Rick Santorum, Bobby Jindal, and Lindsey Graham with support below 1% each.
In recent weeks, Scott Walker’s sharp decline generated quite a bit of attention, and for good reason – it’s been a while since we’ve seen a top-tier contender fall so far, so fast. But with the Wisconsin governor exiting the race, perhaps it’s time to also note that the deterioration of Rand Paul’s support is nearly as extraordinary. When the Kentucky senator entered the race, some saw him as a possible nominee, and yet, he’s now roughly tied with George Pataki – and George Pataki is barely trying.
As for the frontrunner, summer has now turned to fall, and to the consternation of the GOP establishment, Trump’s position atop the polls has not changed. Has his dominant role faded at all? That depends on whom you ask – the Huffington Post’s polling aggregator shows Trump’s support leveling off a bit, but not yet declining, while RealClearPolitics’ aggregator points to Trump losing quite a bit of support, despite his frontrunner position.
We’ll need more data before drawing firm conclusions, but either way, those waiting for Trump’s campaign downfall will, for now, have to keep waiting.