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Trump Widens National Lead

Monday, Dec. 14, 2015

Cruz, Rubio, Carson vie for second

West Long Branch, NJ – The latest Monmouth University Poll finds Donald Trump building a commanding national lead in the race for the Republican nomination.  Ted Cruz is slightly ahead of Ben Carson and Marco Rubio in the second tier, while all other candidates poll well below 5 percent.  The poll also finds, however, that Republican voters other than Trump or Cruz supporters feel the frontrunner does not have the right temperament to be president.

When Republicans and Republican-leaning voters are asked who they would support for the GOP nomination for president, Donald Trump leads the pack at 41%.  Ted Cruz (14%), Marco Rubio (10%), and Ben Carson (9%) are far behind.  All of the other ten candidates tested poll in the low single digits, including Jeb Bush (3%), John Kasich (3%), Chris Christie (2%), Carly Fiorina (2%), Mike Huckabee (2%), and Rand Paul (2%).  All but Huckabee have been invited to the main stage for tomorrow’s debate.

The results represent a big jump in Trump’s support and a rearrangement of the deck chairs in the second tier.  After polling between 26% and 30% in Monmouth polls throughout the late summer and fall, Trump’s showing has increased by 13 points from his 28% result in mid-October.  Cruz and Rubio have each gained 4 points over the same period, while Carson’s support has dropped by 9 points.

“It has become abundantly clear that Trump is giving his supporters exactly what they want, even if what he says causes the GOP leadership and many Republican voters to cringe” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, NJ.

While nearly 2-in-3 (65%) voters overall agree that Trump has the temperament to take on the role of president, there are significant differences in this view among the GOP electorate.  More than 9-in-10 (94%) Trump supporters say he has the right temperament.  Cruz voters are more likely to have a positive (52%) rather than negative (43%) opinion of Trump’s demeanor.  Among all other Republican voters, though, 55% say Trump’s temperament is not a good fit for the presidency compared to 43% who feel it is.

Overall, 30% of Republicans would be enthusiastic if Trump won the nomination and another 37% would be satisfied.  Just 12% would be dissatisfied and another 16% would actually be upset.  Putting Trump’s supporter’s aside, most Cruz voters (63%) would be okay with Trump as the party’s standard-bearer.  Among all other Republican voters, however, just 40% feel the same while most say they would be either dissatisfied (24%) or upset (29%) if Trump was the GOP nominee.

Trump’s support comes from a wide variety of GOP voter groups, although it is skewed toward those who have never been to college.  Trump commands the support of a majority (54%) of Republican voters with a high school education – 13 points higher than his overall support levels.  He also does somewhat better among men (44%) than women (37%), but draws very similar levels of support from very conservative (41%), somewhat conservative (45%), and moderate (40%) voters.

Trump does better among strong tea party supporters (52%), but this is a group where Cruz also outperforms his overall standing by garnering 29% support, which is 15 points higher than his support among all GOP voters. Cruz also performs well among very conservative voters (26%).

“Trump voters may skew toward a lower educational level, but it’s important to keep in mind that he draws support from significant segments of every voting bloc.  You simply can’t pigeonhole his supporters as representing one or two particular factions of the party,” said Murray.

 KEY VOTER GROUPS for TRUMP and CRUZ
  Total Men Women High school Some college College degree Very conservative Somewhat conservative Moderate Strong tea party support Soft tea party support No tea party support
TRUMP 41 44 37 54 34 31 41 45 40 52 41 36
Compared to total +3 -4 +13 -7 -10 +4 -1 +11 -5
                         
CRUZ 14 16 12 8 18 19 26 8 10 29 12 12
Compared to total +2 -2 -6 +4 +5 +12 -6 -4 +15 -2 -2
                         

Trump’s personal rating has also improved in the past two months.  It now stands at 61% favorable and 29% unfavorable, compared to 52% – 33% in October.  The current results represent an all-time high for Trump’s rating according to the Monmouth University Poll.  Cruz stands at 58% favorable and 18% unfavorable, up slightly from 50% – 23% in October.  Rubio earns a similar 55% favorable – 18% unfavorable rating, up from 49% – 16% two months ago.  Carson’s rating remains high at 57% – 25%, but this is down from his 65% – 11% standing in October.

The top issue for Republican voters nationwide is national security and terrorism (39% first choice / 18% second choice), followed by the economy and jobs (19% first choice / 22% second choice).  The next tier of issue concerns includes taxes and government spending (12% first choice / 13% second choice) and immigration (9% first choice / 16% second choice).  Social issues (4% / 7%), gun control (3% / 6%), and education (3% / 5%) rank much farther down the list.

The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone from December 10 to 13, 2015 with 1006 adults in the United States.  This release is based on a sample of 385 registered voters who identify themselves as Republicans or lean toward the Republican Party.  This voter sample has a margin of error of +5.0 percent.  The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, NJ.

DATA TABLES

The questions referred to in this release are as follows:

(* Some columns may not add to 100% due to rounding.)

undefined. I know the 2016 election is far away, but who would you support for the Republican nomination for president if the candidates were – [NAMES WERE ROTATED]

  December
2015
October
2015
September
2015
August
2015
July
2015
June
2015

April
2015
Donald Trump 41% 28% 30% 26% 13% 2% 7%
Ted Cruz 14% 10% 8% 6% 9% 5% 11%
Marco Rubio 10% 6% 5% 4% 6% 9% 5%
Ben Carson 9% 18% 18% 5% 6% 11% 7%
Jeb Bush 3% 5% 8% 12% 15% 9% 13%
John Kasich 3% 1% 2% 3% 1% 1% 1%
Chris Christie 2% 3% 2% 4% 2% 4% 5%
Carly Fiorina 2% 6% 4% 2% 1% 2% 1%
Mike Huckabee 2% 4% 4% 6% 7% 8% 9%
Rand Paul 2% 4% 2% 4% 6% 6% 6%
Lindsey Graham 1% 1% 0% 1% <1% 2% 1%
George Pataki 1% <1% <1% <1% <1% <1% <1%
Rick Santorum <1% 0% 0% 1% 2% 3% 1%
Jim Gilmore 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% n/a n/a
(VOL) Other 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 1%
Bobby Jindal n/a 1% <1% 1% 2% 1% 1%
Rick Perry n/a n/a 1% 2% 2% 4% 5%
Scott Walker n/a n/a 3% 11% 7% 10% 11%
(VOL) No one 2% 3% 2% 1% 1% 2% 2%
(VOL) Undecided 6% 9% 9% 10% 18% 20% 14%
(n) 385 348 366 423 336 351 355

2. I’m going to read you a few names of people who are running for president in 2016.  Please tell me if your general impression of each is favorable or unfavorable, or if you don’t really have an opinion.  [NAMES WERE ROTATED]

  Favorable Unfavorable No opinion
Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush    34%    47%    19%
    –October 2015 37 44 19
    –September 2015 41 39 20
    –August 2015 52 30 18
    –July 2015 50 30 20
    –June 2015 40 35 25
    –April 2015 49 31 21
    –December 2014 39 30 31
Commentator and Doctor Ben Carson    57%    25%    18%
    –October 2015 65 11 23
    –September 2015 67 6 26
    –August 2015 45 10 45
    –July 2015 48 11 41
    –June 2015 45 12 43
    –April 2015 39 16 45
    –December 2014 32 12 57
Texas Senator Ted Cruz    58%    18%    24%
    –October 2015 50 23 26
    –September 2015 n/a n/a n/a
    –August 2015 52 14 34
    –July 2015 48 16 35
    –June 2015 49 17 35
    –April 2015 49 19 32
    –December 2014 39 15 46
Florida Senator Marco Rubio    55%    18%    27%
    –October 2015 49 16 35
    –September 2015 n/a n/a n/a
    –August 2015 54 11 36
    –July 2015 53 19 28
    –June 2015 54 13 34
    –April 2015 41 18 40
    –December 2014 38 16 46
Businessman Donald Trump    61%    29%    10%
    –October 2015 52 33 15
    –September 2015 59 29 12
    –August 2015 52 35 13
    –July 2015 40 41 19
    –June 2015 20 55 25
    –April 2015 28 56 15
    –December 2014 n/a n/a n/a
       

3. How would you feel if Donald Trump became the Republican nominee – enthusiastic, satisfied, dissatisfied, or upset?

  December
2015
Enthusiastic 30%
Satisfied 37%
Dissatisfied 12%
Upset 16%
(VOL) Don’t know 5%

4. Regardless of whether you would vote for him, do you agree or disagree that Donald Trump has the temperament needed to carry out the role of President of the United States?  [Is that strongly or somewhat (agree/disagree)?]

  December
2015
Strongly agree 42%
Somewhat agree 23%
Somewhat disagree 10%
Strongly disagree 23%
(VOL) Don’t know 2%

5/6. Which of the following issues is the most important to you in deciding who to support for president? [ITEMS WERE ROTATED]
And which is the second most important?

  FIRST
CHOICE
SECOND
CHOICE
Combined
1st & 2nd
Immigration 9% 16% 25%
The economy and jobs 19% 22% 41%
National security and terrorism 39% 18% 57%
Social issues like abortion and same-sex marriage 4% 7% 11%
Taxes and government spending 12% 13% 25%
Education 3% 5% 8%
Gun control 3% 6% 9%
(VOL) All equally important 9% 1% 10%
(VOL) Other 0% 0% 0%
(VOL) Don’t know 1% 11% 12%

Download this Poll Report with crosstabs