The Corner

Politics & Policy

Deconstructing The Donald: November

Donald Trump didn’t move much in the polls this month, and that might be the most telling fact of all. He’s not gaining, but neither is he dropping. Seemingly locked on a 25–30 percent share of Republican primary voters, Trump ends November as an increasingly plausible threat for the nomination.

This is especially true after the Paris attacks. Trump is up in national polls conducted entirely after those brutal murders, from 24 percent in pre-attack polls conducted in early November to 25 percent in mid-month, post-attack polls to 30 percent in the two most recent polls. CBS/YouGov released three state polls Sunday, each of which showed Trump receiving over 30 percent of the vote in early voting Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina.

Trump’s demographic splits remain roughly the same. He draws from all four GOP factions, but tilts slightly more to the moderates than the very conservative Evangelicals. The most pronounced demographic split for him remain education: The less someone went to school, the likelier that person is to back Trump.

He is by no means a lock for the nomination. Trump also leads in polls that ask which candidate a respondent would never support; Republicans seem to love him or loathe him. Public Policy Polling asks mock one-on-one races to estimate how the final stage of a race might look. Trump always beats Jeb Bush in those hypotheticals, loses to Carson, and runs even with or a small bit behind Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz.

Neither Trump fans nor Trump haters should indulge their hopes or fears. The race has been going on forever for those of us who follow this closely, but it has barely started for most voters. Iowa doesn’t vote for another two months, and history shows that people can change their minds rapidly once they focus on the race. Trump’s latest rise might be a simply bounce — he’s polled this high before. But for now, The Donald remains the man to beat – and that’s exactly how he likes it.

Henry OlsenMr. Olsen is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, an editor at UnHerd.com, and the author of The Working Class Republican: Ronald Reagan and the Return of Blue-Collar Conservatism.

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