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Eye On Candidates
July 30, 2015

New Poll Results Answer Key Questions

The Quinnipiac University national poll released this morning seems to answer, for now at least, the question of whether businessman Donald Trump can maintain his strong position in the polls despite recent inflammatory comments:

Donald Trump surges, Jeb Bush slumps in new national poll

Donald Trump leads the GOP presidential field by a significant margin, according to a new Quinnipiac University national poll released Thursday….

Fully 20 percent of Republican and Republican-leaning voters said they would vote for Trump if the primary were held today — the largest share any single candidate has received in Quinnipiac’s seven surveys over the past two years. That puts the brash real-estate magnate ahead of the two other candidates who earn double-digit support: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker at 13 percent and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush at 10 percent.

It’s a four-way tie for fourth place — with pediatric neurosurgeon Ben Carson, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio all at 6 percent.

It appears Trump’s bombastic campaign style and celebrity status are proving more resilient than some political analysts thought, as the poll shows Trump continuing to do well even after his disparaging remarks about Arizona Sen. John McCain’s war service and time as a prisoner of war, as well as his comments regarding Mexican immigrants. The Quinnipiac poll shows Trump with support across all segments of the GOP:

Trump’s strength in the poll comes primarily from male voters: He earns 24 percent of the vote among men. But he also leads among female voters, with 15 percent of the vote to Bush’s 12 percent and Walker’s 9 percent….

There was little ideological difference between Trump’s supporters and those of the rest of the field. He earned 23 percent of the vote among tea party supporters and 20 percent among both white evangelicals and voters who said they were “very conservative.”

Another question that may have been answered concerns whether Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s late announcement strategy would boost his standing nationally enough to put him onto the debate stage on Aug. 6:

The poll also indicates that Ohio Gov. John Kasich could ride a post-announcement bump onto the stage for next week’s debate in Cleveland, despite fears that Trump’s wall-to-wall media coverage had overshadowed his late entry into the race…. Kasich, at 5 percent, is tied for eighth place with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

That’s enough to vault Kasich into the top 10 in POLITICO’s analysis of the most recent live-caller polling of the GOP primary — and potentially onto the dais at the Fox News debate on Aug. 6. Kasich replaces former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who earned just 2 percent of the vote in the Quinnipiac poll and slipped to 11th in the POLITICO average.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie stays at ninth in the average thanks to his 3 percent haul in Thursday’s Quinnipiac poll. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who earned 2 percent in the Quinnipiac poll, and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, at 1 percent, are tied for 12th place in the POLITICO average — a full percentage point behind Kasich for the 10th-place spot.

The Politico average seems to track closely with the poll averages, which show Kasich tied for ninth place with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry slipping to 11th.

The debate field will be set on Aug. 4 based on recent national polls. That’s next Tuesday. Expect those candidates who are either just barely on or off the debate stage, based on current polls, to be doing whatever they can over the next few days to boost their name recognition and support levels; this weekend’s polling could make or break a handful of candidacies.