CNN Poll: Trump tied for first in GOP horserace
April 12th, 2011
11:24 AM ET
3 years ago

CNN Poll: Trump tied for first in GOP horserace

Washington (CNN) - Donald Trump is now tied with Mike Huckabee for first place when Republicans are asked who they support for the GOP presidential nomination in 2012, according to a new national poll.

But while a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Tuesday indicates that the real estate mogul and reality TV star has nearly doubled his support since mid-March, it doesn't mean he has smooth sailing ahead.

"More than four in ten Republicans say they would not like to see Trump toss his hat in the ring," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

Nineteen percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents questioned in the poll say that as of now, they'd be most likely to support Trump for next year's GOP presidential nomination. Trump says he'll decide by June whether he runs for the White House. An equal amount say they'd back Huckabee. The former Arkansas governor and 2008 Republican presidential candidate says he'll decide by later this year if he'll make another bid for the White House.

Twelve percent say they'd support former Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, who was the party's 2008 vice presidential nominee, with 11 percent backing former Massachusetts Gov. and 2008 White House hopeful Mitt Romney and the same amount supporting former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Seven percent say they are backing Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, another 2008 presidential candidate, with five percent supporting Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, who enjoys strong backing from many in the Tea Party movement. Everyone else registers in the low single digits.

Trump jumped from 10 percent in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll conducted last month, with Romney dropping from 18 percent to 11 percent.

"Are Republicans switching from Romney to Trump? Some are, but it's a lot more complicated than that, as you would expect with 11 potential hats in the ring," adds Holland. "Only one in five Trump supporters say that Romney would be their second choice. It looks like Trump pulls as much support from Gingrich and Palin as from Romney, and Romney's support would go down even if Trump were not in the list of potential candidates."

The poll was conducted in the two days before Romney's Monday announcement that he was taking the first formal step towards another bid, by setting up a presidential exploratory committee.

According to the survey, more than seven in ten Republicans say that regardless of whom they would support, they'd like to see Huckabee run for the party's presidential nomination, with two-thirds saying the same thing about Romney.

But that figure drops to 56 percent for Trump, with 43 percent saying they don't want to see him run. By a narrower 53 to 47 percent margin, they would like to see Palin make a bid for the White House, and by a 51 to 45 percent margin, they would like to see Gingrich run.

So what could be behind Trump's rise in the poll?

One contributing factor could be his numerous appearances in the national media. Trump's questioning of whether President Barack Obama was born in the U.S. has put Trump smack in the media spotlight the past two months.

"If Trump is rising in the polls because of the amount of air time he has gotten, it would be difficult to tell whether his gains are due to what he is saying or simply due to his increased visibility. In a field of more than a dozen potential candidates, all air time is good air time," says Holland. "Most presidential seasons get to a point when the voters are looking for a fresh face. That's what gave us Fred Thompson in 2008 and Wesley Clark in 2004, to name just two examples. If the Republican rank and file has already hit that phase, Trump would be the obvious beneficiary."

But being in the top spot in the polls the year before the election doesn't always end with that candidate winning their party's nomination. Both Sen. Hillary Clinton and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani led in the national horserace polls in 2007, with neither ending up taking their party nominations.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted by telephone, with 824 people questioned. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

-CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report


Filed under: CNN poll
soundoff (137 Responses)
  1. Donaldbain

    Jeez, you people can't be serious, can you? Trump? Really? I concede the GOP list of retread losers is getting pretty long, but Trump? He won't reveal his finances anyway, so he is just wasting your time. His "birther" nonsense doesn't help his case either and that thing on his head should disqualify him outright. That should be as illegal as a burqa because it's a disguise for what is really there (or not there, in this case).

    April 12, 2011 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  2. Mutt

    Trump is the best they can come up with? My how the republican party has fallen. They are in turmoil & reaching blindly for a direction.......... I can see it now 2015 Crusty the Clown from 'the Simpsons' fame is leading in the Iowa straw polls.

    April 12, 2011 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  3. Marko

    what is it with these repub's anyway?They will vote for anyone!!!

    April 12, 2011 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  4. JJ

    Trump for President? Anything is possiible, after all , some as stupid as George Bush served two terms. Of course the right winged supreme court made him President the first time around. The problem with Trump, as with the other Republican blowhards, is that they are full of complaints but short on ideas. They are a bunch of whinning arm chair quaterbacks.
    Trump says Obama messed up on Lybia...OK "the Don", what you have done? On the economy? On Jobs? What would you do?

    I hope Trump runs, it will make the Republican candidiate circus even better.

    April 12, 2011 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  5. HCC

    If he can run the country like he does on The Apprentice, he's got my vote.

    It's too bad we can't sack the entire House and Senate of all its current garbage and start over with a fresh, younger team of people who want to do what's best for America.

    Old people are too stubborn to deal with any sort of change.

    April 12, 2011 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  6. terdy, va

    Donny the Clown leading the circus known as the GOP presidential field; truly hilarious!!!!

    April 12, 2011 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  7. Pete from St Paul

    Republicans just want anyone who is perceived to be tough to defeat Obama. A dead rat smells strong in its decay. Smells stronger than a living Obama. Republicans will vote for the dead rat. They simply hate Obama that much.
    Donny T. interest is only unto himself. He cannot see the role of government as a service for the people. Government is not the engine to make wealth. Like the body; the government is like the kidneys and the liver; whereas businesses as the heart and brains. The DT can only see being the President as a means to fill his pocket. Just look at the current governor in Florida. Can we really put all fifty states in the hands of one man like this?

    April 12, 2011 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  8. HunterF

    I'd vote for him simply because we need a business man to get us out of this mess not politicians that don't understand you can't spend $100 when you only have $10 in your wallet.

    April 12, 2011 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  9. Qi

    Two guys who have no intention of running are tied. Sounds like bad news on the right...

    April 12, 2011 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  10. Patrick Lewis

    Doesn't mean he's serious. He'll quit when the first sniffs of actual media scrutiny happen.

    April 12, 2011 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  11. ted

    The GOP is allowing the delusional lunatics to steal its show and I fully support it. I do hope that Trump runs with lots of VPs including Palin, Huckabee, Barbour, Romney, Newter, and whoever else wants to join in the fun. Trump woudl want a normal corporation with lots of butt kissing VPs around. One is not enough, he would want lots. Secretaries woudl be women in the steno pool. Big changes ahead.

    Obama/Biden 2012

    April 12, 2011 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  12. Dean

    It's still early in the process. Trump knows that he's not a viable cndidate. But I like the fact that he's going to get in Obama's grille about the birth certificate issue (amongst other things). Obama needs to be attacked on several fronts in order to weaken his candidacy.

    Go GOP 2012.

    April 12, 2011 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  13. GI Joe

    Better yet, the horse had to be running backward for him to come in first.

    April 12, 2011 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  14. IvanaHumpalot

    The Don! Put this man in office. Dig up H. Ross Perot as a veep, Jesse Ventura as secretary of state, and Arnold Schwarzenegger as Head of Defense.....

    then.................

    DUCK!

    April 12, 2011 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  15. kazz

    this is gonna be a slaughter

    April 12, 2011 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  16. Billy

    Yes, please! Trump/Palin for the GOP ticket! That'll totally ensure Obama gets reelected – he won't even need to make campaign ads, just run their quotes!

    April 12, 2011 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  17. Will

    I would vote for Trump or any other contender other than the master campaigner Obama. He has been a worthless leader and the sooner he is out of office the better.

    April 12, 2011 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  18. Russ

    What a stupid head line. "Trump Shocks in New Poll" What is so shocking about this. You're talking about a poll of radical right wing lemmings. These are the same people that bought pet rocks and loved Palin until they saw how stuipid she was. It will happen again with Trump once the novelty wears off. This is the best thing that could have happened to the Democrats. Thank you Donald!! Thank you Sarah!! Thank you Michelle!!

    April 12, 2011 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  19. Mark L.

    Donald Trump for President in 2012?? LMAO...WAY Too Funny...LOL....

    I can see Rudy Giuliani making another run, but Donald Trump?? ROFLMAO...{:o)

    April 12, 2011 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  20. joshua wertheim

    11 buffoons running, not a decent one in the bunch. The poll shows the stupidity of the american public. Does anyone know what trump stands for except high ratings and glutonous consumption? G-d help us that so many american voters are d-u-m-b

    April 12, 2011 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  21. Anonymous

    I guess the gop would rather have a bankrupt birth for president than someone who could actually do the job! So sad that they have fallen this far

    April 12, 2011 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  22. DAT

    The Republicans don't stand a ghost of a chance in 2012 unless they can convince the millions of independent voters that the GOP is NOT dominated by a bunch of loonies. And, so far, they haven't even made a start on that task.

    April 12, 2011 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  23. smithie12

    you must be joking !!! trump is nothing but a charlatan who is more interested in "making a buck" than being President !!! besides his finances are so convoluted he could never withstand a "proper audit " !!! and as for huckabee, he should stay on faux news !!! at least there his right wing audience will hang on to every stupid utterance !!!

    April 12, 2011 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  24. detada

    That doesn't say much for the republican field.

    April 12, 2011 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  25. Joseph-Ohio

    If Trump makes the ticket it will make President Obama's reelection that much easier! Come on! This guy still believes the president is not a citizen, which has been stated over and over again as crazy babbling. Trump will turn the Oral Office into his newest reality show set! Is that what Republicans want in a President?

    April 12, 2011 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
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