Since he announced his candidacy for president, Donald Trump has vaulted into second place in many polls, both nationally and in early primary states. In the two most recent national polls, a CNN/ORC poll and a Fox News poll, Trump placed second, receiving 12 percent and 11 percent, respectively.
However, there’s more to the story than meets the eye. Eleven percent of support might be enough to make it into the top tier in a crowded field, but as candidates inevitably begin to drop out of the race, Trump is going to need to convince their supporters to board the Trump train. In that regard, he is facing a daunting challenge. Trump has consistently been receiving the highest unfavorability numbers in the field.
The Huffington Post collected some of the most recent poll numbers that Trump has received. A recent ABC/Washington Post poll showed that only 16 percent of the respondents viewed Trump favorably, while 71 percent viewed him unfavorably, a staggering -55 by the Frank Cannon Metric. The only two candidates who came close to that level of unfavorability were Jeb Bush and Chris Christie:
Only former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, with 51 percent rating him unfavorably (32 percent favorable), and current New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, with 48 percent rating him unfavorably (22 percent favorable) came close to Trump’s level of dislike.
By the Cannon Metric, Jeb would score a -19, and Christie would score a -26. Both results are significantly better than Trump’s -55.
A recent Quinnipiac poll had similar results, as Trump was viewed favorably by just 20 percent of respondents and unfavorably by 69 percent, which would score a -49 when put through the Cannon Metric.
However, there’s even worse news for the Trump campaign. In a recent Fox News poll, conducted in early June, 59 percent of respondents said they would “never vote for” Trump. In fact, in the same Fox News poll where Trump placed second, respondents were asked, “Do you consider Donald Trump a serious presidential candidate or a side show?” Seventy-seven percent of respondents said they considered Donald Trump a sideshow, while only 22 percent said he was a serious candidate.
Trump clearly appeals to a certain base of GOP voters, who like the idea of a successful outsider and who are responding to his non-PC bravado. However based on these polls, it seems likely that Trump’s support has a ceiling, and his poll numbers are rapidly approaching that ceiling. Trump doesn’t have much room to grow, and we can only hope that he doesn’t do any significant damage to the eventual nominee’s general election chances before he inevitably peters out.
Joshua Pinho works for American Principles in Action.