Is Trump Winning Over Republican Voters?

Donald Trump (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)
Donald Trump (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

What a difference a couple weeks can make.

Just two weeks ago, The Pulse’s Joshua Pinho reported on Donald Trump’s consistently low favorability ratings in national polls.  Although Trump by that point had begun to rise overall, reaching second place in a couple surveys, his favorability among likely GOP primary voters was still badly underwater.

Now, Trump is leading in most national polls, including the most recent PPP poll, which shows him garnering 19 percent of the primary vote, just ahead of Scott Walker, who sits at 17 percent, and well ahead of Jeb Bush (12 percent), Ben Carson (10 percent), Marco Rubio (10 percent), and the rest of the field.

More importantly for Trump, however, his favorability numbers have flipped.  Among Republican voters polled, Trump was viewed favorably by a 48-39 split, a +9 on the Frank Cannon metric.  This is substantially better than the -55 and -49 which Trump had registered in polls around the beginning of June and suggests that favorability, especially for Trump, is significantly more fluid than we perhaps first expected.  Most surprisingly, Trump’s favorability has risen despite his controversial comments on Sen. John McCain, which some pundits believed might sink his fledgling campaign.

Moving beyond Trump, here was how the rest of the major candidates fared in the PPP poll, ranked by the Cannon metric:

  • Scott Walker: +43 favorability, 27% unsure
  • Marco Rubio: +35 favorability, 27% unsure
  • Ben Carson: +34 favorability, 28% unsure
  • Ted Cruz: +30 favorability, 28% unsure
  • Rick Perry: +30 favorability, 31% unsure
  • Rick Santorum: +29 favorability, 33% unsure
  • Bobby Jindal: +26 favorability, 40% unsure
  • Mike Huckabee: +19 favorability, 22% unsure
  • Carly Fiorina: +16 favorability, 40% unsure
  • John Kasich: +14 favorability, 57% unsure
  • Rand Paul: +12 favorability, 28% unsure
  • Donald Trump: +9 favorability, 13% unsure
  • Jeb Bush: +6 favorability, 24% unsure
  • Lindsey Graham: -13 favorability, 46% unsure
  • George Pataki: -17 favorability, 59% unsure
  • Chris Christie: -31 favorability, 19% unsure

Although Trump’s rise in favorability has been substantial, he still ranks fairly low relative to the rest of the field, right around Jeb Bush territory.  If Walker is able to sustain his relatively high popularity, it is difficult to see Trump competing once the race really heats up.

And that is if Trump even makes it that far.  While it is possible Trump has staying power in the primary race, many insiders reportedly believe his campaign is headed for a fall.  If so, these poll numbers suggest possible beneficiaries of a Trump collapse could be Ted Cruz, Ben Carson, and Scott Walker, all of whom had over 40 percent favorability among Trump voters.

But it is still early yet.

Paul Dupont is a legislative assistant for American Principles in Action.