Despite receiving a lot of internal fire from other Republicans over his John McCain remarks Donald Trump is still the leading Republican presidential candidate according to a new poll released today from CNN/Opinion Research Council (ORC). The CNN poll was taken from July 22-25, after Trump claimed that Sen. John McCain was “not a war hero” only to partially recant and say McCain was “only a war her because he was captured.” Many analysts believed that Trump’s remarks may be the moment of implosion for his presidential campaign. The CNN/ORC poll shows that Trump’s support may have declined from last week, but Trump still maintains the leader position.. The following is a breakdown of the poll, including a look at the sample and a comparison to other polls. For more polling updates throughout the 2016 presidential election follow me on Facebook or Twitter.
The Overall Results
The CNN/ORC national poll has the following breakdown of 2016 Republican presidential candidates:
Donald Trump (18 percent)
Fmr. Gov. Jeb Bush (15 percent)
Gov. Scott Walker (10 percent)
Sen. Ted Cruz (7 percent)
Sen. Rand Paul (6 percent)
Sen. Marco Rubio (6 percent)
Fmr. Gov. Mike Huckabee (5 percent)
Ben Carson (4 percent)
Gov. Chris Christie (4 percent)
Gov. John Kasich (4 percent)
All others 3 percent or below
The Poll Sample
The CNN/ORC poll includes interviews with 1,017 adults and includes 898 registered voters. The sample includes 419 Republicans and Republican-leaning independents. The overall poll has a margin of error of +/-3.5 percentage points, but the subgroups of the poll have a margin of error as large as +/-8.5 percentage points. The inclusion of all registered voters, as opposed to likely voters, may have aided Trump since he has better name recognition than most other candidates.
What Other Polls Say
Last week and ABC News/Washington University poll had Trump with a double-digit 11 point lead over all other Republican candidates nationally.
A USA Today/Suffolk University poll released two weeks ago had Trump leading the field with 17 percent of the Republican primary vote, five percent more than any other candidate. In addition, an Economist/YouGov poll released two weeks ago had Trump with a four point lead on Bush.
Assuming all three polls are true, Trump may have peaked last week before he made his comments about McCain and now is seeing his support fall nationally. Further polls will show whether Trump really is losing support, and whether the trend is continuing if it does in fact exist.
What the Poll Means
The Trump campaign will undoubtedly spin the poll as good news since it shows Trump still in the lead nationally among the Republican candidates. Trump’s critics and the other Republican candidates will point to Trump’s dropoff in support relative to the ABC News/Washington Post poll from last week and say this is the beginning of Trump’s downfall.
In the long term it is worth remembering how early it is in the race. At this point in 2008 and 2012 candidates like Rudy Giuliana and Fred Thompson were leading the Republican field in polls. In both cases it was more established candidates, John McCain and Mitt Romney, who actually won the nomination.
It is also worth noting that there are weaknesses for Trump whenever one dives into the details of any of these polls.
For instance,an Economist/YouGov poll found that only 7 percent of Republicans think Trump will actually win the nomination, which suggest that respondents are saying they would vote for Trump as more of a statement than an actual desire to see him as the Republican nominee. The same poll also points out that 43 percent of Republicans have an unfavorable view of Trump, and when asked to give a one-word description of Trump respondents more often than not gave a negative rather than a positive assessment. The USA Today poll found that 61 percent of Republican voters have an unfavorable impression of Trump, compared to just 23 percent who have a favorable impression of him. This most recent CNN/ORC poll shows that 59 percent of registered voters have an unfavorable view of Trump, by far the largest of any candidate.
Trump’s negative favorability ratings will likely limit his ability to expand his voter base behind the far right wing voters that have united behind his tough stance on immigration.