For a week, dating back to Thanksgiving, there were no polls to quench our thirst. It was a boring week for PPFA, and as a result it was surely a boring week for its readers. But now, thanks to recent national polling from Quinnipiac and New Hampshire numbers from Public Policy Polling, we have some numbers to moisten our parched political throats.
We’ll start with the national numbers. On the Democratic side, Clinton doubles up Sanders, 60-30, while O’Malley is stuck at 2. Moving on.
The Republicans came in as follows:
1. Trump 27
2. Rubio 17
3. Cruz & Carson 16
5. Bush 5
6. Fiorina 3
7. Christie, Kasich, Paul 2
10. Huckabee 1
11. Graham, Pataki, Santorum, Gilmore: not registering
- Trump’s followers worship him. More on this later.
- That’s the highest national polling number for both Rubio and Cruz since their campaigns began. This represents the continuance of a slow but steady climb for each of them (represented by the light pink [Rubio] and black [Cruz] in the headline image of this post).
- It’s Carson’s lowest number since the end of September, exactly 20 polls ago.
- Bush has totally flatlined. In the six polls done since the beginning of November, he has been between 4 and 6.
- There is obviously little support left for the rest of the field.
Now let’s look a little deeper at other questions the poll asked.
Is your mind made up?
- Total respondents: 32% have made up their minds
- Trump supporters: 46% of them have made up their minds.
- Cruz: 33%
- Carson: 26%
- Rubio 23%
Are there any of these candidates you would definitely NOT support?
- Trump 26%
- Bush 21%
- Christie 13%
- Kasich 13%
- Paul 13%
- Fiorina 11%
- Graham 11%
- Pataki 11%
- Carson 10%
- Gilmore 9%
- Huckabee 9%
- Santorum 9%
- Cruz 6%
- Rubio 5%
Conclusions: Trump is the most divisive candidate. (News at 11?) About half of his supporters have made up their mind, comfortably best of the top four contenders. However, more than a quarter of the electorate has totally ruled him out. That makes it very difficult for Trump to grow his numbers, and he can’t win the nomination with 30 to 35 percent of the vote. Meanwhile, his biggest rivals for the nomination — Rubio and Cruz — show the most ability to grow their support. This is very, very important.
Let’s look at favorable/unfavorable splits. First, among all registered voters (Republican, Democrat, and independent):
- Rubio: 37/28 = +9
- Carson: 40/33 = +7
- Cruz: 33/33 = 0
- Fiorina: 28/29 = -1
- Kasich: 19/23 = -4
- (Clinton: 44/51 = -7)
- Huckabee: 29/41 = -12
- Paul: 23/40 = -17
- Christie: 28/48 = -20
- Bush: 32/54 = -22
- Trump: 35/57 = -22
Not a good sign for Trump in a general. Among only Republicans, however, he does much better:
- Rubio 66/8 for +58
- Cruz 65/9 for +56
- Carson 67/13 for +54
- Huckabee 56/18 for +38
- Trump 64/27 for +37
- Fiorina 49/17 for +32
- Bush 53/34 for +19
- Christie 43/31 for +12
- Kasich 27/20 for +7
- Paul 32/36 for -4
That’s healthy favorability for the poll leader. But yet again, look how much better Rubio and Cruz are doing! This is further proof that they have enormous room for growth in the next two months. While we’re here… say a prayer for Rand Paul, the guy who’s running for the wrong nomination.
Let’s move to PPP’s New Hampshire’s poll. First, the big number:
- Trump 27%
- Cruz 13%
- Rubio 11%
- Christie 10%
- Carson 9%
- Kasich 8%
- Fiorina 6%
- Bush 5%
- Paul 4%
- Huckabee. Pataki, Santorum 1% (Graham, Gilmore not registering)
- Trump again by a mile.
- It’s Cruz’s highest ever New Hampshire figure and ranking. If he’s even climbing in the northeast, watch out.
- Rubio will be disappointed. He has flatlined in New Hampshire. He had several 13s in November. This is a tick down.
- Christie surges. He hadn’t hit double digits since announcing. Thanks to endorsements and positive town-hall reactions, he was rumored to be gaining traction in New Hampshire, but this is the first poll that reflected his strong recent stretch. His pop is the most interesting development of this poll. Surges can build on themselves very quickly.
- Carson fading everywhere.
- Kasich hanging around for this must-win state, but as we’ll see below, his favorable split is mediocre.
- Not a bad number for Fiorina, but I can’t imagine her campaign funds are doing too well these days. It might be time to start writing herself checks soon.
- Jeb Bush, at 5 percent in New Hampshire, is in the coffin. Has anyone seen the final nail? It’s around here somewhere…
- Poor Lindsey Graham.
Who would be your second choice for the GOP candidate?
- Cruz 14%
- Rubio 13%
- Christie 12%
- Trump 8%
- Bush, Carson, Kasich 7%
- Fiorina 6%
- No one else above 3%
It’s highly unusual for a leader dominating like Trump to be so middling when it comes to second choice. But Donald Trump is no usual candidate.
The most interesting nuggets from this category comes from PPP’s summary:
- “[Cruz is] the second choice of 26% of Trump voters to 14% for Christie with no one else in double digits. If Trump’s support ever does wear away Cruz is positioned to be the greatest beneficiary of that.”
- “Christie is the most frequent second choice of Bush and Kasich voters so if either of them doesn’t make it to New Hampshire he’ll be well positioned to further gain.”
Excellent news for Cruz and Christie.
As for favorable/unfavorable:
- Christie: 61/22 = +39
- Rubio: 54/26 = +28
- Fiorina: 54/27 = +27
- Cruz: 53/28 = +25
- Carson: 52/32 = +22
- Huckabee: 46/32 = +14
- Trump: 50/39 = +11
- Paul: 42/36 = +6
- Kasich: 38/35 = +3 (New Hampshire miracle not looking good)
- Jeb: 38/45 = -7
- Graham: 29/38 = -9
- Santorum: 26/41 = -15
- Gilmore: 5/23 = -18 (Ha! A 5 for favorable.)
- Pataki: 16/45 = -29
Here comes Chris Christie! As PPP tells us “To put those numbers in perspective Christie was at 35/46 when we polled the state in August, so he’s had a 50 point net improvement in his favorability over the last three months.”
In the many, many, many, many times I ranked Christie as the fourth most likely nominee, I usually cited his ability to win over voters in town hall formats. New Hampshire (and Iowa, but he doesn’t spend as much time there) is perfect for such venues. Voters want to meet the candidates and hear them directly. Is Christie’s personal connectivity finally paying dividends? It certainly seems so.
Ultimately, nothing about these polls makes me back off this month’s Power Rankings. Rubio’s the favorite by a nose over Cruz, while Trump and Christie have the next best odds.
As for Trump, you might recall that earlier I said his followers worship him. As PPP puts it: “The key to Trump’s sustained success is that his supporters basically buy into everything he says. There’s an almost cult like aspect to it, with Trump fans following the leader.”
For example, they note that even though only 30 percent of Republican voters believe that “thousands of Arabs” openly gathered to cheer 9/11 in New Jersey, a majority of Trump voters — 58 percent — believe just that. Only 12 percent of Trump supporters don’t think it happened. This is likely not a chicken and the egg scenario, since no one was talking about it since it was initially debunked by the end of September 20001. I’d wager they only started believing it after Trump told them he saw it.
Meanwhile, 53 percent of his supporters want a “national database of Muslims,” even though only 29 percent of Republicans overall want one. PPP also notes that supporters of all other candidates oppose it!
Regarding American mosques: even though only a quarter of Republicans want to shut down mosques, half of Trump supporters do. Once again, the supporters of all other candidates are against such action.
Finally, only 20 percent of Trump voters support an assault weapons ban while 66 percent are opposed, but when asked about a ban specifically on assault weapons for Muslims, 56 percent of Trump voters support it with only 22 percent opposed. In other words, they want to use one’s religion as a pretext to gain certain rights in this country. This is how America ends, folks.
Dean Debnam, the President of PPP, offers this summation: “The reason Donald Trump’s support doesn’t go down whenever he makes a controversial statement is that his voters just buy into everything he says. We have not yet found the line he could cross that would make that cease to be true.”
And now, hot off the presses this morning, CNN just released a poll. Trump is up 20 points nationally.
We will never again have a primary so absurd.