It’s official. Donald Trump has the support of 37 per cent of registered Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll published a week before the first votes of the 2016 campaign are cast. This is just one point lower than the support he enjoyed a month ago.
Ted Cruz of Texas came second – 21 per cent, which is good news in a way, considering his previous high was 15 per cent. Marco Rubio was third but only at a relatively listless and stagnant 12 per cent.
Somewhere in the back are
Ben Carson – 7 per cent
Jeb Bush – 5 per
Chris Christie – 4 per cent
Carly Fiorina – 3 per cent
Mike Huckabee and John Kasich – 2 per cent each
Rand Paul – 1 per cent
Rick Santorum – less than 1 per cent
When first and second choices were combined, Mr Trump got 49 per cent, Mr Cruz 39 per cent and Mr Rubio 32 per cent.
So what does this portend for Iowa, which holds its caucuses on Monday, February 1 and in New Hampshire, which votes on February 9.
Even though The Post-ABC survey found that Mr Trump’s supporters were more committed to him (57 per cent) than those backing other candidates, there is fluidity in his local numbers. Disparate candidates have been surging in Iowa (Cruz) or New Hampshire (Cruz, Christie and Kasich). Local losses or a surrendering of some of his trumpi-ness would probably be bad for Mr Trump nationally.
Overall, it’s hard at this point to say that Mr Trump will trump the rest.
Things will become clearer after the results are in from the first four states. Don’t believe the pundits till then.