Donald Trump continues to hold the monopoly of support among GOP primary voters with new state polling showing a strong lead in the early states of Nevada and South Carolina. More important than the national polls, the state polling gives us an idea of regional candidate strength.
Report from CNN:
Donald Trump holds double-digit leads over Ben Carson in both South Carolina and Nevada, the third and fourth states scheduled to hold nominating contests in next year’s race for the presidency, with Trump widely seen in each state as the best candidate to handle a range of top issues, according to new CNN/ORC polls.
Trump holds 38% support in Nevada, with Carson in second with 22%, and in South Carolina, Trump doubles Carson’s support, 36% to 18%. No other candidate comes close to those top two in either state; the third-place candidate in each case has less than 10% support.
Trump’s backing in both states outpaces his support in most recent national polling, where he tends to draw around a quarter of Republican voters.
In Nevada, where more than half of likely caucus participants say they have made up their mind or are leaning toward someone, Carly Fiorina takes third place with 8%, followed by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio with 7% and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush with 6%. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee are next at 4% each, with the remainder of the field at 2% or less.
Trump’s supporters in Nevada are more committed than others: Among those likely caucus-goers who say they have made up their minds or are leaning toward someone, 53% support Trump, 21% Carson, 7% Rubio and everyone else is at 5% or less. Those who say they are still trying to decide whom to support break 21% each for Carson and Trump, 12% for Fiorina, 10% for Bush, 9% for Huckabee and 6% for Rubio.
Trump is pushing near forty percent in both states, the margin of error not withstanding. That is a pretty big number among likely Republican primary voters. The biggest question is what does this mean for candidates like Jeb Bush who appear to have completely dropped off the radar? Here’s the breakdown for both states:
36% – Trump
18% – Carson
9% – Rubio
7% – Fiorina
6% – Bush
5% – Cruz, Graham (tied)
4% – Paul
3% – Huckabee
Cruz and Paul are suffering because Trump and Carson are taking all the anti-Washington sentiment right and consolidating it. However, where is the support for Bush? Perhaps some went to Fiorina and some are jumping to Rubio as well.
38% – Trump
22% – Carson
8% – Fiorina
7% – Rubio
6% – Bush
4% – Cruz, Huckabee (tied)
Nevada has been added into the early state voting pool this time around to give western states a voice in the process. There are only a handful of delegates, but with Nevada getting it’s own day, it will become big news for the candidate who wins decisively heading into the numerous contests happening on March 1, 2016.
Notable in each state is that Rubio is beating Jeb Bush. I don’t think it will be too long, perhaps another mediocre debate performance, before Jeb supporters fully jump ship and embrace Florida’s other native son.