Republican front-runner Donald Trump has dropped 12 points in the most recent Reuters poll released on Friday. Trump still leads the GOP pack, but he fell from 43 percent a week ago to 31 percent on Friday. This is the largest poll-to-poll drop for Trump since he announced. Ben Carson also fell, but he is still in second place with 15 percent. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are tied at eight percent each and Bush is essentially tied with seven percent.
This is the first poll taken since Trump called for Mosques to be closed and requiring Muslims to carry special ID cards like Jews in Germany in the 1930’s. Some of the respondents were polled after Trump mocked the disability of a New York Times reporter. Not only was this disgusting, but perhaps many Republicans feel it was not very presidential.
Trump makes outrageous statements every day and has paid no price in the polls, at least among Republican voters. His latest antics may have offended Republicans outside the one-third of Republicans who still support Trump. The mocking of a disabled person may be a bridge too far for some Republican voters particularly since Trump has shown no remorse, and in fact, demands an apology from the Times for blasting him over the incident.
Establishment Republicans are in panic mode over Trump. They realize he is the likely Republican nominee who would face either Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton in 2016. Both Democrats beat Trump in head-to- head matchups. Some Republican candidates are running TV ads attacking Trump and Liz Mair has set up a Super Pac to take Trump down. Maybe the ads are working; or maybe Trump is doing himself in.
Meanwhile, Ben Carson is also falling in the polls. He is doing what presidential candidates do—taking a fact-finding trip to the Middle East. Carson is visiting a refugee camp in Jordan. This is curious because he is opposed to the United States allowing refugees in. Unlike previous candidates, Carson is not making any public statements to the media on his trip. He apparently wants to avoid the gaffes that other candidates have made on these trips.
Even though Carson is falling, Evangelical Christians are still in love with him. They fill auditoriums to hear Carson speak, stand in line to buy his books, and they have embraced his life story as proof of God’s power to transform and to uplift, as an article in CNN Politics points out. His climb to the top of national polls is due largely to evangelicals, a group that first knew Carson as a pediatric neurosurgeon but now see him as a president.
“I do feel God is the answer to our nation,” Annie Abraham, who attended a recent Carson event in Las Vegas, told CNN. “He is not diplomatic. He says it like it is.”
Like Trump, Carson is also dropping in the polls after making comments that are too extreme for many Americans. In a recent Quinnipiac poll, Carson fell to third place in Iowa. Cruz is now training Trump for the lead by a percent with Carson a distant third. However, Evangelicals vote. Even if Carson is falling behind, he could do well in Iowa and certain primaries if Evangelicals turn out at the polls.
As for the Republican race, we can expect more excitement. Whenever Trump has been attacked, he attacks. He may push back hard against establishment Republicans for going after him. So far, Trump is the Teflon candidate. As long as he does not lose the third of Republicans that are in his camp, he should be considered to be the Republican nominee unless most of the other candidates drop out. Stay tuned.