The latest Monmouth University Poll finds Donald Trump building a commanding national lead in the race for the Republican nomination. Ted Cruz is slightly ahead of Ben Carson and Marco Rubio in the second tier, while all other candidates poll well below 5 percent. The poll also finds, however, that Republican voters other than Trump or Cruz supporters feel the frontrunner does not have the right temperament to be president.
When Republicans and Republican-leaning voters are asked who they would support for the GOP nomination for president, Donald Trump leads the pack at 41%. Ted Cruz (14%), Marco Rubio (10%), and Ben Carson (9%) are far behind. All of the other ten candidates tested poll in the low single digits, including Jeb Bush (3%), John Kasich (3%), Chris Christie (2%), Carly Fiorina (2%), Mike Huckabee (2%), and Rand Paul (2%). All but Huckabee have been invited to the main stage for tomorrow’s debate.
The results represent a big jump in Trump’s support and a rearrangement of the deck chairs in the second tier. After polling between 26% and 30% in Monmouth polls throughout the late summer and fall, Trump’s showing has increased by 13 points from his 28% result in mid-October. Cruz and Rubio have each gained 4 points over the same period, while Carson’s support has dropped by 9 points.
“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” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, NJ.
While nearly 2-in-3 (65%) voters overall agree that Trump has the temperament to take on the role of president, there are significant differences in this view among the GOP electorate. More than 9-in-10 (94%) Trump supporters say he has the right temperament. Cruz voters are more likely to have a positive (52%) rather than negative (43%) opinion of Trump’s demeanor. Among all other Republican voters, though, 55% say Trump’s temperament is not a good fit for the presidency compared to 43% who feel it is.
Overall, 30% of Republicans would be enthusiastic if Trump won the nomination and another 37% would be satisfied. Just 12% would be dissatisfied and another 16% would actually be upset. Putting Trump’s supporter’s aside, most Cruz voters (63%) would be okay with Trump as the party’s standard-bearer. Among all other Republican voters, however, just 40% feel the same while most say they would be either dissatisfied (24%) or upset (29%) if Trump was the GOP nominee.
Trump’s support comes from a wide variety of GOP voter groups, although it is skewed toward those who have never been to college. Trump commands the support of a majority (54%) of Republican voters with a high school education – 13 points higher than his overall support levels. He also does somewhat better among men (44%) than women (37%), but draws very similar levels of support from very conservative (41%), somewhat conservative (45%), and moderate (40%) voters.
Trump does better among strong tea party supporters (52%), but this is a group where Cruz also outperforms his overall standing by garnering 29% support, which is 15 points higher than his support among all GOP voters. Cruz also performs well among very conservative voters (26%).
“Trump voters may skew toward a lower educational level, but it’s important to keep in mind that he draws support from significant segments of every voting bloc. You simply can’t pigeonhole his supporters as representing one or two particular factions of the party,” said Murray.
|KEY VOTER GROUPS for TRUMP and CRUZ|
|Total||Men||Women||High school education||Some college education||College degree||Very conservative||Somewhat conservative||Moderate||Strong tea party support||Soft tea party support||No tea party support|
|Compared to total||+3||-4||+13||-7||-10||–||+4||-1||+11||–||-5|
|Compared to total||+2||-2||-6||+4||+5||+12||-6||-4||+15||-2||-2|
Trump’s personal rating has also improved in the past two months. It now stands at 61% favorable and 29% unfavorable, compared to 52% – 33% in October. The current results represent an all-time high for Trump’s rating according to the Monmouth University Poll. Cruz stands at 58% favorable and 18% unfavorable, up slightly from 50% – 23% in October. Rubio earns a similar 55% favorable – 18% unfavorable rating, up from 49% – 16% two months ago. Carson’s rating remains high at 57% – 25%, but this is down from his 65% – 11% standing in October.
The top issue for Republican voters nationwide is national security and terrorism (39% first choice / 18% second choice), followed by the economy and jobs (19% first choice / 22% second choice). The next tier of issue concerns includes taxes and government spending (12% first choice / 13% second choice) and immigration (9% first choice / 16% second choice). Social issues (4% / 7%), gun control (3% / 6%), and education (3% / 5%) rank much farther down the list.
The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone from December 10 to 13, 2015 with 1006 adults in the United States. This release is based on a sample of 385 registered voters who identify themselves as Republicans or lean toward the Republican Party. This voter sample has a margin of error of +5.0 percent. The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, NJ.