Billionaire real estate mogul and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, in recent campaign stops, has called this the “summer of Trump.” The latest Loras College Poll seems to confirm that statement here in Iowa.
Christopher Budzisz is director of the poll, which shows Trump and another unconventional candidate leading the pack. “The latest poll shows Donald Trump receives the support of 24.5 percent of likely Republican caucus-goers, while Ben Carson receives 18.1 percent,” Budzisz says. Jeb Bush is third in the poll with 10.4 percent.
No other Republican presidential hopeful has double-digit support as a first choice candidate in Iowa. While Trump is well-known as a reality TV star, Carson is a retired neurosurgeon. Budzisz says Iowa has historically been receptive to nontraditional candidates.
“Whether you’re talking about Pat Robertson or Pat Buchanan or individuals like that who’ve been able to use another base of support — whether it’s the popular appeal or to tap evangelical networks,” Budzisz says. “So, I think it is fertile ground for unconventional candidates.”
The new poll is a good news / bad news situation for Trump and Carson, as history also shows candidates who’ve polled well in the summer are often in trouble by the time the Iowa Caucuses roll around.
“The good news is they’re in a strong position, but the bad news is that five months can be an eternity in caucus politics…just ask Herman Cain, Michelle Bachmann, or Newt Gingrich,” Budzisz says.
According to Budzisz, who’s an associate professor of politics at Loras College, the key for Trump and Carson to maintain their positions at the top of field is to avoid gaffs and stay on message.
“And another thing is to see where Super PAC money is targeted, as well as the efforts of other candidates. As we draw closer to that February 1st date, if we still see Trump and Carson in the lead, they’re going to come under increasing pressure by both external interest groups — Super PACs — but then also other candidates, who are going to spend their time and resources to target them,” Budzisz says. “It’s going to get pretty contentious, I imagine.”
The Loras College Poll released today involved 502 likely Republican caucus-goers polled statewide. The results differ greatly from a poll conducted back in April. Donald Trump had just 3.1 percent support at that time. In the April poll, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker had the lead with the support of 12.6 percent of likely Republican Iowa Caucus-goers. In this new poll, his support has dipped to 6.2 percent.