In South Carolina, the state where presidential candidates will go following voting in Iowa then New Hampshire next February, the news delivered Wednesday by a Fox News poll can only enlarge Donald Trump’s ego even more, if that’s even possible.
The New York City billionaire has completely captured the 24/7 news cycle, starting Monday, when he declared that Muslims should be barred from entering the country until national leaders “figure out what the hell is going on. The 73-year old real estate developer sits high atop a pyramid of Republicans who would all be fired if the race for the Republican nomination were a real-life episode of his popular TV show “The Apprentice,” where competitors who don’t make the grade from week to week are dismissed with Mr. Trump’s now famous declaration, “You’re fired!”
Leading the pack with 35 percent, a new Fox News Poll in South Carolina shows Trump is followed by Dr. Ben Carson who’s a distance second with 15 percent. Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio tie for third at 14 percent. In three-way tie for fifth place at two percent are Chris Christie, Lyndsay Graham and Rand Paul.
Tied for sixth place with just one percent are four other Republicans, including Ohio’s own governor, John Kasich, who does no better when participants were asked to name their second choice.
In the same poll, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton out paces all candidates, Republican or Democratic, with 65 percent support. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has 21 percent and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley is at 3 percent.
When asked which Republican presidential candidate is most qualified to handle the economy, Donald Trump does even better with 48 percent. Trump also leads the others on the issue of national security and who can beat Hillary Clinton next year, should she win the Democratic nomination.
Even more worrisome is the realization that lots of Trump’s backers would go so far as to abandon the Republican Party if necessary to support an independent Trump for president, McClatchy reporter Lesley Clark wrote.
Ohio’s low-polling, term-limited governor who is disliked by more voters as they get to know him, is rolling the dice on New Hampshire. He says “doing well” in the Granite State is a like climbing a-board a rocket ship. Doing well means placing no lower than third, and right now, Kasich’s rocket ship is still on the drawing board. For all the millions he spent, with promises to spend millions more, Gov. Kasich has bought fifth place at best. Not doing well in New Hampshire will only guarantee the petulant 63-year old a quick trip to some cold showers next year once South Carolinans weigh-in on their choices.
Kasich Anti-Trump Ads Embarrassing For Kasich
John Kasich has taken the lead on trying to tear Trump down, producing TV ads that paint Mr. Trump as unfit to be president and a divider not a uniter. Other candidates like Jeb Bush are running negative ads about Trump. For John Kasich, a focus group gathered by master art-of-the-word personality Frank Luntz watched one of Gov. Kasick’s Trump take-down ads that compared Trump to Adolf Hitler. Instead of agreeing with Camp Kasich, they thought it was embarrassing for Kasich.
“I was stunned. These are Republicans and they’re prepared to sink the Republican Party,” Mr. Luntz said.
If Mr. Kasich is clairvoyant, and his prediction that Republicans will not nominate Donald Trump at their national convention in Cleveland, Ohio, comes true, Democrats, and Hillary Clinton if she’s the party’;s nominee, will win by a landslide. Trump promises to spin off his own independent campaign, which will split support for Republicans and throw the election to the Democratic nominee, if he’s not the GOP nominee. Kasich might get some satisfaction by pushing Trump off the cliff, but he’ll also get heartburn when the billionaire thumps him and his party as his dedicated voter base stay with him instead of breaking to a career establishment politico like Mr. Kasich.
To show just how fearful some GOP candidates are of Donald Trump, they have collectively spent $76 million to damage him while he’s spent a faction of that, $5.6 million, through the end of September, the AP reported.
“On Wednesday, Bush touted a plan to return more power to states. Ohio Gov. John Kasich addressed national security in New York. And retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson outlined his plan to reshape the U.S. health care system. Each made hardly a ripple in the race,” wrote AP reporters thomas Beaumont and Julie Bykowicz.
A New York Times national survey shows Trump with support by 35 percent of Republican primary voters. His next closest competitor is Ted Cruz (16) and Ben Carson (13). “Overall, 24 percent of voters expressed concern and 40 percent fear about what Mr. Trump would do if elected president, whereas 23 percent said they are concerned and 34 percent scared about the possibility of a Clinton presidency,” the Times wrote.
A new CBS News poll confirms what other polling firms are finding. Republican primary voters support Trump 35 percent, that’s up 13 points since October, and is his highest mark so far, CBS News said. Ted Cruz (16 percent) has moved into second place, while Ben Carson, who led the October poll, has dropped to third.
John Kasich stumped for Mitt Romney in Ohio in 2012, but reluctantly so. At Romney events at which Kasich spoke, the chronically crusty governor could only talk about himself and what he’s done to Ohio. He used Romney’s time to promote himself. It’s hard to envision Kasich backing Trump if he wins the nomination. It’s also hard to envision Trump being loyal to the Republican nominee, maybe most especially John Kasich if it isn’t him.