A new poll released by CNN/ORC International Wednesday shows that Donald Trump continues to lead the GOP field in the key state of Iowa despite harsh criticism of his debate performance and post-debate comments regarding Megyn Kelly. Many believed that Trump’s numbers would fall after he said Fox News host Megyn Kelly had blood coming out of her “whatever” in response to Kelly’s tough question submitted to Trump in the first GOP presidential debate. However, Trump has maintained his support among the largest number of Republican voters in Iowa. A full breakdown of the poll, including an analysis of the sample and a comparison to other polls, can be seen below. For more polling updates throughout the 2016 presidential election follow me on Facebook or Twitter.
The Overall Results
The CNN/ORC International poll has the following breakdown of support for Republican presidential candidates in Iowa:
Donald Trump (22 percent)
Ben Carson (14 percent)
Gov. Scott Walker (9 percent)
Sen. Ted Cruz (8 percent)
Carly Fiorina (7 percent)
Fmr. Gov. Mike Huckabee (7 percent)
Fmr. Gov. Jeb Bush (5 percent)
Sen. Marco Rubio (5 percent)
Sen. Rand Paul (5 percent)
Gov. Chris Christie (3 percent)
All others 2 percent or below
The Poll Sample
The CNN/ORC International poll was conducted from August 7-11, which means it was completed after the Fox News televised GOP presidential debate on August 6. The sample includes 1,258 likely caucus goers in Iowa, and has a margin of error of +- 3.0 percentage points. Within that sample were 544 Republican likely caucus goers, with a margin of error of +- 4.0 percentage points. The sample included both landline and cell phone respondents.
This is actually a very large sample given the population (likely Iowa caucus goers). The margin of error is well in line with other primary polls, and there is no obvious reason to doubt the validity of the sample.
What Other Polls Say
A Real Clear Politics average of six polls released over the last month has Trump leading the Republican field in Iowa with the support of 19.8% of likely Iowa caucus goers. The closest competitor to Trump is Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI), who has the support of 14.8% of likely caucus goers according to the six polls.
The CNN/ORC International poll falls well in line with the last two polls released of Iowa Caucus goers. A Suffollk University poll had Trump with a five point lead on Walker, and a PPP poll had Trump with a seven point lead over Walker and Carson.
What the Poll Means
Taken together the polls show that no matter what amount of criticism is mounted against Trump from other candidates, or even from the media giant Fox News, Trump seems to maintain support from about 17-25 percent of the likely caucus goers in Iowa.
The remaining questions are:
(1) Can Trump manage to garner more support to push him about 30 or 40 percent support within the Republican Party?
(2) Can any other candidate manage to gather together a coalition of voters to overcome Trump’s obvious appeal to a hardcore voters?
Ben Carson appears to have gained the most in the CNN poll, while Scott Walker lost five points compared to the last poll. Jeb Bush, largely considered the leading man to capture the nomination, currently polls seventh with just 5 percent support.
As long as the support remains divided over so many candidates it appears that Trump has a legitimate shot of winning the Iowa Caucus, which is now just a bit over four months away.
Trump is currently dominating the airwaves and his loyal supporters are not abandoning him no matter what he says. The other candidates will either have to find a way to appeal to Trump’s voters, or to gain enough attention and momentum to overcome the Trump base with more moderate voters.