I mentioned in my post about last night’s debate that I had some interesting data from the latest Iowa poll conducted by Public Policy Polling which came out yesterday.
Like the Fox News Poll from Sunday, the Quinnipiac Poll from Monday and the Loras College Poll from yesterday, PPP shows Donald Trump and Ted Cruz in a statistical dead heat. Trump with 28%, Cruz at 25% with Rubio a distant third at 14%.
This poll was a sampling of 522 likely Iowa caucus-goers with a margin of error of 4.3%.
As always, I went to the documented poll results (which are 88 friggin’ pages long), and I discovered an interesting development.
In addition to asking Iowa Voters whom they support and whom they would select as their second choice, PPP also broke down polling into smaller groups of candidates.
One of the things I’ve been saying for quite some time is that there will not always be 13 candidates in this race (Thank God!). And when the field begins to shrink, and support coalesces among a smaller group of candidates, we will see some big changes.
In my column about the Enslaved Press’ attacks on Trump a few weeks back, I point out that I suspect they aren’t trying to drive his current support away from him so much as they’re trying to prevent his base of support from expanding when the field begins to winnow down to just a few candidates. And if this polling from PPP is any indication, I think that might be happening.
Check this out.
Q18 Given the choices of just Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and Ted Cruz who would you support for the Republican nomination for President?
Donald Trump 29%
Jeb Bush 12%
Marco Rubio 19%
Ted Cruz 36%
Not sure 4%
Q19 Given the choices of just Donald Trump, Marco Rubio, and Ted Cruz who would you support for the Republican nomination for President?
Donald Trump 31%
Marco Rubio 24%
Ted Cruz 39%
Not sure 5%
Q20 Given the choices of just Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and Ted Cruz who would you support for the Republican nomination for President?
Jeb Bush 19%
Marco Rubio 21%
Ted Cruz 51%
Not sure 9%
Q21 Who would you prefer as the Republican candidate if you had to choose between just Jeb Bush and Donald Trump?
Jeb Bush 35%
Donald Trump 56%
Not sure 9%
Q22 Who would you prefer as the Republican candidate if you had to choose between just Ben Carson and Ted Cruz?
Ben Carson 29%
Ted Cruz 61%
Not sure 10%
Q23 Who would you prefer as the Republican candidate if you had to choose between just Ben Carson and Marco Rubio?
Ben Carson 39%
Marco Rubio 49%
Not sure 12%
Q24 Who would you prefer as the Republican candidate if you had to choose between just Ben Carson and Donald Trump?
Ben Carson 45%
Donald Trump 44%
Not sure 11%
Q25 Who would you prefer as the Republican candidate if you had to choose between just Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio?
Ted Cruz 59%
Marco Rubio 30%
Not sure 10%
Q26 Who would you prefer as the Republican candidate if you had to choose between just Ted Cruz and Donald Trump?
Ted Cruz 55%
Donald Trump 34%
Not sure 11%
Q27 Who would you prefer as the Republican candidate if you had to choose between just Marco Rubio and Donald Trump?
Marco Rubio 49%
Donald Trump 45%
Not sure 7%
Someone who is polling extremely well in a large field of candidates eventually will need to be able to broaden support. If this poll is any indication, Trump is not doing that. It isn’t from lack of campaigning. Instead, I think it can be directly linked to the negative impact of all these attacks he has endured.
The other day, I was in a discussion in the comments section of the Right Scoop and one of the commenters challenged me with this comment:
TRUMP has been facing attacks on a continuous basis from every possible angle known to man. Name all of the attacks on TRUMP that have been effective so far. Go ahead.
My response to him was this:
The point was to respond to the comment that Trump would attack Cruz on flip-flops. My point is the guy in glass flip-flops shouldn’t throw stones.
But let me respond to your statement: Name me one state that Trump has won in the primaries despite these attacks. Name me one. Go ahead.
You can’t, can you? Wanna know why? Polls do not determine delegates. Polls do not determine the nomination. VOTES do. And as yet, not one single person has gone to a polling place, stood in line, gotten a ballot, gone into a booth and cast a single vote. The truth is, we will see if these attacks impact Trump in the primaries when people actually start voting. Neither you nor I can determine how these attacks have harmed him in the ballot box because nobody has voted yet.
Until that time, polling 385 people out of a country of 318 million and showing he has 41% support among those 385 people doesn’t mean a damn thing.
At the end of the day, all that matters are votes. Not polls. Not who has the most Twitter supporters. VOTES.
The bottom line is this. For a candidate to maintain the frontrunner position when the field winnows down, his base of support must be expanding. I don’t doubt that Trump’s supporters are deeply loyal to their guy. Just like Rubio’s supporters are, or Cruz’s supporters. Hell, even the 1% that stick with Lindsey Graham must be sticking with him for a reason. These attacks aren’t geared to erode his loyal base. They are geared to make Trump radioactive so that his base of support can’t grow.
What I see in this particular section from the PPP Iowa poll is some indication that those relentless attacks are working. When the field begins to shrink, it is evident from this poll that voters will swing to anybody but Trump unless Trump’s only opponent for the nomination is Jeb Bush.
Is it proof that the attacks are working? Absolutely not. We won’t know for sure until people start voting in primaries and the field subsequently begins to shrink. But it does point to a certain trend that leads me to suspect that all these attacks are having their desired effect.
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