On the day that Donald Trump announced he was boycotting FOX News, the new FOX poll showed that Trump is still the Republican front runner with 26 percent. The poll, released Wednesday, shows that Carson is in second place at 18 percent. The proclaimed winner of the last Republican debate, Carly Fiorina, is a distant third at 9 percent, tied with Marco Rubio, a point ahead of Ted Cruz.
The presumed nominee, Jeb Bush, continues to trail with only 7 percent. Chris Christie, Mike Huckabee, John Kasich and Rand Paul are the only other candidates to top one percent. Five Republicans have the support of one percent or less of Republican primary voters. Earlier this week, Scott Walker withdrew from the race.
Pundits were predicting that Trump’s sub-par performance in the debate would finally result in a shakeup in the GOP race. Many were saying Trump was nervous about his campaign. Yet, he is still on top. Carly Fiorina, the star of the debate, did experience a post-debate bump in the CNN poll released on Sunday. She came in second, ahead of Carson. But, in the new FOX poll, Fiorina is still far behind Ben Carson in third place. She has the distinction, however, of being the second choice of more Republican voters than any other candidate, topping Carson in that category by one percent.
Trump and FOX News got into another quarrel on Wednesday. First, FOX cancelled a Trump interview with Bill O’Reilly that was scheduled for Thursday. In typical Trump style, he tweeted that he was boycotting FOX for not treating him fairly. FOX replied in a statement that a candidate telling a reporter which questions to ask is not how the system works. Later in the day, Trump indicated that he was not permanently boycotting FOX. Pundits are now debating whether FOX needs Trump more than Trump needs FOX.
For the first time in the campaign, Trump played to a half-empty hall Wednesday in South Carolina. He drew a crowd of less than 1,500 in a hall that holds three thousand. The event was a rally for the African-American Chamber of Commerce. Trump opened his remarks saying how big the crowd was, hoping cameras would not pan the room. They did. Does this mean Trump has peaked, or is it a bleep?
Experts said that the “Summer of Trump” was meaningless because once Labor Day arrived voters would forget their summer fling and get serious. In the last quarter of September, however, Republicans are still in love with Trump, even if he has lost a few voters with wandering eyes.
Meanwhile, Fiorina is finding what life is like for a candidate once the media takes them seriously. Since the debate and her singing debut on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, the former HP CEO is getting more scrutiny. She is finding herself spending more time defending things than putting her policy ideas forward. And, Trump still gets more news coverage than all candidates together.
Trump, however, finds himself spending more time answering questions about Obama’s birth certificate than questions about his proposed wall on the Mexican border. That may change, however, now that Pope Francis is in town, talking about the need to embrace immigrants. At the White House, the Pope pointed out that he was the son of immigrants. Thursday, the Pope addresses Congress and he may raise the issue of immigration. If he does, Trump will clearly dominate whatever news coverage that is not dedicated to the Pope.
The election of 2016 will clearly go down in history for something. What it will be remembered for remains to be seen.