Donald Trump may have lost the Iowa caucus, but new polls suggest that he isn’t slipping off his position as the Republican Party’s frontrunner for the 2016 presidential nomination.
Trump underperformed his polling in Iowa, losing to Texas Senator Ted Cruz and barely beating the surging Marco Rubio. It was a difficult loss for Trump, who many thought could roll through all 50 states without losing. His sheen of invincibility suffered a big crack, and he allowed the establishment-friendly Rubio back into the thick of the race.
But there is some much better news ahead for Donald Trump. A new CNN/WMUR tracking poll just days before the New Hampshire primary found that Trump had a 17-point lead over his nearest rival, with a total of 33 percent support. That is up five points from a similar tracking poll last week, suggesting that Trump is increasing his strength even despite the loss in Iowa.
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) February 7, 2016
Trump has doubled the support of Marco Rubio, suggesting that the Iowa result may be a one-off rather than a trend working against Trump.
Donald Trump has some advantages beyond polls. He was widely seen as the winner of Saturday’s Republican Debate, hitting Ted Cruz for allegedly dirty dealings at the Iowa caucus. Cruz’s campaign and caucus workers were accused of spreading rumors that Ben Carson was dropping out of the race, thus taking some of Carson’s votes for himself.
Cruz himself came under attack on many fronts during the debate, with several other candidates chipping away at Trump’s main opponent.
— The New Yorker (@NewYorker) February 7, 2016
As the New Yorker noted, some of Trump’s other competitors caught heat during the debate.
“Meanwhile, elsewhere on the stage, Chris Christie and Jeb Bush both went at Marco Rubio, but Christie did the most damage by far. (John Cassidy has the whole brutal story.) He got the audience to notice that Rubio had repeated a line about how ‘Barack Obama knows exactly what he’s doing’ two times, almost verbatim; Rubio responded by repeating the line two more times, though the final rendition was jumbled.”
Donald Trump seems to enjoy an extra advantage in New Hampshire, with many voters embracing his New York City bombast.
“When you’re a New Yorker, you tell it the way it is and you’ll always know where you stand with the person,” Rochelle Renna, an independent voter from suburban Nashua, told the New York Times. “New York City is where it’s at and anything in New York City is awesome.”
But his place atop the polls has also put a big target on Donald Trump. All other trailing candidates seem to be focusing their attacks on him, which was the case this weekend when Jeb Bush called Trump a “loser.”
“It’s a sign of weakness when you make fun of the disabled,” Bush said. “What kind of man would do that? You do not want that man as president of the United States, I can promise you that… it’s a sign of real weakness when you call John McCain or Leo Thorsness or anybody else that is a POW, who served this country in a way that should be admired, American heroes. Calling them losers? Donald Trump, you’re the loser!”
If Donald Trump continues to lead the polls, the attacks will likely continue to intensify, but the competitors could lessen also. Many of the peripheral candidates like Bush, Chris Christie, and Dennis Kasich could be dropping out soon if they don’t show any climb in polling.
[Image via Instagram/Donald Trump]