How Is Donald Trump Leading In GOP Polls?
A few polls now have placed Donald Trump in or near the lead. Considering how erratic (not to say ridiculous) his general commentary has been since he announced his run (okay, and long before), it’s a bit surprising to see that he could rise high in any sort of poll, other than maybe ‘Most likely to blurt racist comments in a political speech.’
So, why is Donald Trump leading the polls?
Well, let’s have a look at the poll.
YouGov, an online polling site, teamed up with The Economist to poll registered Republican voters. They took both ‘first choice’ and ‘second choice’ preferences from each respondent.
The results placed Donald Trump the highest, with Jeb Bush and Rand Paul tied behind. Overall, the vote is divided fairly evenly among all contenders — Tump has 15% of the straw votes, Bush and Paul each get 11%, the next three runners-up have 9% each. If this poll is representative of the entire Republican voter base, the nomination could still go almost anyone’s way.
Still, considering the spread of votes, Trump’s 4% lead seems significant. Sure, any of the next five candidates (or even some of the others) could make a move that would give them a surge before nominations, and make a difference, but for the moment, Trump has a clear lead.
However, the same study also polled respondents on who they thought the most likely nominee would be — and the overwhelming response, with 29% of votes, is Jeb Bush — with Trump trailing in fifth place with 7% of the vote.
What makes Trump so popular?
Is it that he isn’t afraid to say what he thinks (even when it’s racially charged and damages his business)?Is it, perhaps that 15% of the Republican voter base honestly agrees with his assertion that Mexican immigrants are all rapists, drug dealers, and criminals, and that foreigners are stealing American jobs — and also capable of the cognitive dissonance to either not notice or not care that Trump has his clothing line made in China and Mexico, and that he got caught hiring undocumented immigrants to work at his hotel?
Sure, it could be any of that. It could be that a simple majority of Republican voters agree with Trump on the issues, and identify with him as a Real American Businessman.
Let’s not forget, though, that The Hollywood Reporter obtained emails showing that Donald Trump paid actors $50 apiece to show up at his presidential announcement and cheer for him. Let’s not forget that polls, especially online polls, have been gamed for less — polls get skewed by as simple an act as a well-read blog or public figure pointing followers to it.
There’s no evidence that Donald Trump is paying people to place a vote for him in polls, but when he’s been caught paying people to make him look good in other aspects of his campaign, and when we know that brands and individuals do pay for social media follows, online flattery, and other apparent support, it’s hard not to wonder if a man who has used his money to fake popularity before might have done so in more ways.