Perhaps it’s fair to say that with increased stature comes increased scrutiny. To wit, as the always combative and entertaining Donald Trump inches his way up in the polls, he finds himself a target of both criticism and derision. Recently, for example, Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) took the gloves off saying, “What Mr. Trump is offering is not conservatism, it is Trump-ism — a toxic mix of demagoguery and nonsense.” Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) was equally dismissive, suggesting that one reason the business mogul is polling so well is because he’s “firing up all the crazies.” Jeb Bush, too, said unapologetically a few days ago that the Republican frontrunner’s “rhetoric of divisiveness is wrong.”
The latest Fox News national poll finds another reshuffling in the race for the 2016 Republican nomination, as Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker gets a post-announcement bump and businessman Donald Trump claims more of the spotlight. …Among Republican primary voters, Trump captures 18 percent. He’s closely followed by Walker at 15 percent and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush at 14 percent. No one else reaches double-digits.
Support for Trump is up seven percentage points since last month and up 14 points since May. He’s also the candidate GOP primary voters say they are most interested in learning more about during the debates.
All is not sunsets and roses, however. Digging deeper into the survey, just like we saw in the USA Today/Suffolk University poll, most Republicans do not like Trump. Or, perhaps more precisely, most Republicans are disinclined to vote for him. While 34 percent of respondents do in fact “admire” the long-shot candidate, a whopping 54 percent claim “he’s just a loud mouth.” His most controversial comments to date, meanwhile, aren’t polling all that well across party lines:
Trump’s June 16 announcement speech included provocative comments on illegal immigration that people are still talking about a month later, including the suggestion that the Mexican government is sending criminals and rapists to the United States. Whatever the blowback, his views resonate with many: 44 percent of voters think Trump is “basically right” on the issue. A 53-percent majority disagrees. Among Republican primary voters, 68 percent say he is right.
That last sentence may explain his appeal among Republicans at this early stage. But can he sustain a presidential campaign merely with bombastic rhetoric that, quite frankly, many Americans find offensive?
I’ll leave you with this random, completely unrelated nugget: