Real estate mogul Donald Trump is heading into the fifth and last Republican debate of the year as the runaway frontrunner in a race a GOP that is still changing. Trump is seeing his highest poll numbers leading the GOP field with an average of 40 percent support in the latest two national polls. In a new ABC News/Washington Post poll released Tuesday morning, Dec. 15, 2015 Trump garnered 38 percent. In a new Monmouth University poll released on Monday, Dec. 14 Trump saw his highest numbers of the campaign with 41 percent support from Republicans and Republican leaning independents. Still Trump cannot beat Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton who beats Trump by 10 percent in the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released on Monday, Dec. 14.
Trump’s supporters are sticking by him even after he made his proposal to ban Muslims from entering the US, which resulted in condemnations from Republicans, Democrats, the White House and some world leaders. These are the first national polls conducted since Trump made that announcement, and the verdict proves he has only gained support from his controversial remarks. Any other candidate in any other race might have been finished, but Trump is triumphing.
ABC News/Washington Post poll, Cruz moves up to second place with 15 percent, as the Hill noted Cruz saw his support double. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is third with 12 percent support, one point more than last month. Up until recently, Rubio had moving up in the polls, but has now stagnated.
Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson ties with Rubio with 12 percent support, half the support he saw last month. As Trump’s numbers have grown with the campaign focusing more on foreign policy and national security, Carson’s have shrunk. Trump gained six points in this poll alone. Rounding out the top five is Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush with just five percent.
In the Monmouth University poll, Trump gained 13 percent support since October when he had 28 percent and now he has a commanding 27-point lead over his next competitor. Cruz continues his trend in recent polls of being Trump’s main competition. Cruz holds second place and 14 percent support gaining four points. Rubio is in third place with 10 percent support gaining four percent since the last poll. Carson continues his fall moving down nine points from his second place post to fourth with half his former support, only 9 percent.
The remaining GOP candidates have three percent support and less. Bush and Ohio Gov. John Kasich tied for fifth with three percent support. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Former HP CEO Carly Fiorina, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) all have 2 percent support each.
Trump might be near 40 percent support in the ABC News and Monmouth poll the picture is far different in the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, where the ranking is the same, but numbers show a tighter race. Trump leads with 27 percent support, while Cruz has 22 percent support, closing trailing the frontrunner. Rubio also does well at third, with a still reasonable 15 percent support, keeping him in the running. Carson moves down from second to fourth place.
Trump for all his GOP domination however, cannot beat Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton in general election matchups. In the ABC News/Washington Post poll, Clinton leads Trump 53 to 40 percent. In a NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released Clinton also beats Trump by 10 points, 50 to 40 percent. Cruz does better, but still loses to Clinton with the Democratic frontrunner at 48 percent and Cruz at 45 percent. Rubio does the best, winning over Clinton 48 percent to Clinton’s 45 percent. Although Carson slipped among Republicans he still does well against Clinton, almost a tie with Clinton at 47 percent and Carson at 46 percent.
Part of the reason Trump fares badly against Clinton are his supporters are predominantly white, high school educated and Tea Party conservatives. Although Trump has supporters in all demographics, he has alienated many groups in his campaign, including women, immigrants, and Hispanics among others, including other more moderate Republicans. Trump just cannot appeal enough to independents to beat Clinton, a group Republicans always need to win.
Trump has seen Cruz take a ten-point lead in the latest Des Moines Register/Bloomberg poll focusing on the first nominating state of Iowa. Trump however, maintains his lead in the second and equally important nominating state of New Hampshire, and in the first southern state contest, South Carolina.
Monmouth University director of polling Patrick Murray commented on Trump’s lead, “It has become abundantly clear that Trump is giving his supporters exactly what they want, even if what he says causes the GOP leadership and many Republican voters to cringe.” This week marks six months since Trump’s campaign declaration, and his six-month domination in the polls and the 2016 presidential campaign. The last GOP debate of the year is being held on Tuesday evening Dec. 15 in Las Vegas and is being hosted by CNN.