Donald Trump has been inching upward in the polls lately, and now we finally have one from The Economist and YouGov showing him in a clear first place:
Now, don’t get carried away here. It’s easy for an attention-getting celebrity non-politician like Trump to stand out from a pack of politicians for a bit, but his candidacy is surely still doomed.
“Trump supporters may be making more of a statement than voting for someone they consider a contender,” Kathy Frankovic writes at YouGov. “Just one in five of Trump’s supporters think Trump will win the nomination.” Other tidbits Frankovic points out are that Trump’s supporters tend to back the Tea Party and to identify as “very conservative,” and are less likely to be college-educated.
The new poll is probably a bit dispiriting for Jeb Bush, though. He had gotten a small bump to first place in three national polls conducted after his June announcement, and his team clearly hoped this would finally let him break away from the rest of the large field. Now, though, he’s down at 11 points, tied for second with Rand Paul. This new poll could be an outlier, or it could be the first sign that Jeb’s announcement bounce has worn off. (Bush’s fantastic fundraising news should help with any disappointment he feels, though)
But Trump’s 15 percent is not a particularly impressive performance in a crowded field — Bush, Scott Walker, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, and Mike Huckabee have all hit or passed that number in at least one poll. Also, Trump hasn’t yet led any polls in Iowa or New Hampshire, which are generally more important than national polls. Still, it’s national polls that are being used to determine which candidates qualify for the first GOP debate, and Trump clearly makes that cut at this point.
But the big question about whether Trump will show up on stage in Cleveland on August 6 isn’t about his polling — it’s about whether he’ll actually turn in the required financial disclosures to the FEC. As Slate’s Josh Voorhees writes, many are skeptical that Trump would publicly disclose so many details of his “business empire.” It’s up to Trump to prove them wrong.