Polls offer first hint at reaction to Trump’s McCain remarks
Washington (CNN) New polling released Monday — nationally and in Iowa — finds Donald Trump squarely in the top tier of candidates, but raises some questions about whether he’ll be able to maintain that standing.
Overall, the new national poll from the Washington Post and ABC News finds Trump at the top of the field nationally with 24% support among Republican registered voters, well ahead of his closest rivals, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (13%) and Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (12%).
But there are some signs Trump’s Saturday remarks questioning Arizona Sen. John McCain’s military service may have been a turn off to some potential voters. The poll, fielded from Thursday to Sunday, found a drop-off in support for Trump in interviews conducted on the final day of fielding. While he earned 28% support during the first three nights of interviewing, that dipped to single digits on the final day.
That shift occurred among a small sample of Republicans, so it’s difficult to judge whether it will hold up as the campaign rolls on. But the poll finds other warning signs for Trump’s campaign.
Just 34% of Republicans think that Trump’s views reflect the core values of the Republican Party, a majority, 54%, say they do not, and 31% of Republicans say they would definitely not vote for him in the general election should he win the party’s nomination. About twice as many as have ruled out a vote for Bush.
RELATED: Defiant Trump refuses to apologize to McCain
Still, a Monmouth University poll in Iowa conducted on the same days found almost no decline in support for Trump after his remarks about McCain among those likely to attend that state’s first-in-the-nation caucuses. There, Trump stands in second place with 13% behind Walker’s field-leading 22%. In that poll, both Trump’s overall support and favorability rating held steady in interviews with likely caucus goers both before and after the event in Iowa where he spoke about McCain’s service.
In the national poll, Walker and Bush are the only candidates on the Republican side other than Trump with double-digit support. Trump’s gains haven’t hurt those two, however, as their standing in the race for the nomination remains about the same as it was in a May Washington Post-ABC News poll.
Others have lost ground, however, with Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul down five points since May,Texas Sen. Ted Cruz off four points, and several others down slightly.
On the Democratic side, little has changed since a May Washington Post-ABC News poll, with 63% of registered Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents behind Hillary Clinton, 14% backing Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, and 12% behind Vice President Joe Biden, who has not yet announced whether he will pursue the presidency in 2016.
And Democrats were more apt than Republicans to say they are satisfied with their field of candidates. While 72% of Democrats say they’re satisfied with their choices, including 24% “very satisfied,” only 67% of Republicans express that much satisfaction, 18% are “very satisfied.”
The Washington Post-ABC News poll was conducted July 16-19 among a random national sample of 1,002 adults. The margin of sampling error for results among the 341 registered Republicans and Republican-leaning independents is plus or minus 6.5 percentage points. The Monmouth University poll conducted July 16-19 included interviews with 452 likely Republican caucus-goers in Iowa, and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4.6 percentage points.