Trump Holding Steady Nationally

| Tom Jensen

PPP’s newest national Republican poll actually finds the top of the field in a pretty similar place to where it was in late August. Donald Trump leads the field with 27%, similar to the 29% he had on our last survey. Ben Carson is in second place with 17%, also similar to the 15% he had last time around. Marco Rubio at 13%, Jeb Bush at 10%, Ted Cruz at 7%, Carly Fiorina at 6%, and Mike Huckabee and John Kasich each at 4% round out the list of candidates with decent levels of support. Chris Christie, Rand Paul, and Rick Santorum are all at 2%, Lindsey Graham, Bobby Jindal, and George Pataki each get 1%, and in last place with less than 1% is Jim Gilmore.

Trump continues to lead with every subgroup of the GOP electorate. He’s at 29% with voters most concerned about electability, and 29% with voters most concerned about having a candidate who’s sufficiently conservative. He’s at 35% with Tea Party voters, and 27% with non-Tea Party voters. He’s at 25% with Evangelicals, and 29% with non-Evangelicals. He’s at 29% with moderates, 27% with ‘somewhat conservative’ voters, and 26% with ‘very conservative’ ones. He’s at 31% with men, and 23% with women. And he’s at 32% with young voters and 26% with seniors. 

Rubio is really the only candidate who can claim any sort of momentum. He’s gone from 5th place at 7% to 3rd place at 13% over the last five weeks. And he has a 57/24 favorability rating that puts him only behind Carson when it comes to the most broadly liked of the Republican hopefuls. No one other than Rubio has seen more than a 2 point gain since our last poll. 

No one’s really lost much ground in the last month either. The biggest decline anyone has seen in their support is 2 points- Trump, Fiorina, and Kasich have all seen that minor dip in the last month. Fiorina being at 6% after registering at 8% on our national poll in late August does suggest that whatever benefit she received from her strong debate performance last month may have already receded.

Although he’s still in first place by a wide margin the news isn’t all good for Trump. He’s had a 14 point drop in his net favorability rating over the last month from +26 at 56/30 to now just +12 at 50/38. And he’s lost ground in head to head match ups with the other leading GOP contenders. The only one he leads is Bush by 20 points at 56/36, although even that is down from his 25 point advantage at 59/34 last time. Last month he led Rubio (50/42) and Fiorina (48/41) in head to heads, now he trails them 50/43 and 47/45 respectively. And what was already a 49/43 deficit to Carson one on one has now grown to 52/41. But perhaps the worst blow for Trump may be that GOP voters don’t think he’s as rich as he says is. Only 30% believe his net worth is over even 5 billion dollars to 55% who think it’s below that threshold. For the most part people aren’t buying his 10 billion dollar claim.

Notes on some other candidates:

-Ben Carson continues to be both the most popular of the GOP candidates (71/16 favorability) and the most frequent second choice (19% pick him to 14% for Fiorina and 12% for Rubio).

-Jeb Bush’s 10% standing is actually up a tick from a month ago and puts him in the top four, but he’s becoming more and more unpopular with Republican voters overall. Just 34% have a favorable opinion of him to 49% with a negative one. His struggles continue to be fueled by strong distrust from voters who identify themselves as ‘very conservative’- his favorability with them is 26/56 and only 2% support him for the nomination.

-It’s not really showing itself in increased support for the nomination yet, but Chris Christie has definitely turned his image around over the last month. We now find him with a positive 43/38 favorability rating which is still mediocre but a net 31 point improvement from a month ago when he was at 28/54. That at least makes it possible for him to get some traction at some point.

-On the flip side of that Rand Paul hasn’t been able to undo the damage that the first debate did to his image with GOP primary voters. He has a 31/42 favorability rating and the only other hopefuls with higher negatives than that are Bush and Lindsey Graham who’s at 18/45. 

-The Republican primary electorate is well to the left of Republican politicians when it comes to a couple of key issues that have been in the news a lot lately. 82% of primary voters support background checks on all gun purchases, to only 13% opposed. Supporters of all 15 GOP hopefuls are in support of expanded background checks, including 82/18 support for them from Bush voters.

There’s also 54% support among GOP voters for increasing the minimum wage to at least $10 an hour. Only 26% support keeping it where it is right now and 18% support eliminating the federal minimum wage altogether.

General election match ups are close. Hillary Clinton trails Ben Carson 48/44 and Jeb Bush 43/42. She ties Donald Trump at 44 and Marco Rubio at 43. And she leads Carly Fiorina 44/43, John Kasich 42/39, Ted Cruz 46/42, and Mike Huckabee 46/39.

Joe Biden does an average of about 5 points better than Clinton in the general election match ups he’s included in, although as has been pointed out many times it’s a lot easier to be a non-candidate than a candidate. He trails Carson 45/42 but leads Trump 48/40, Fiorina 46/40, and Rubio 45/40.

Bernie Sanders on the other hand does an average of about 5 points worse than Clinton in the general election match ups. He trails Carson 46/35, Rubio 42/38, and Fiorina 44/38 while tying Trump at 44.

Carson is by far the strongest GOP candidate and also the only candidate on either side with a positive favorability rating among the overall electorate- 43/35.

Full results here

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