It appears predictions the summer of Trump will morph into the fall of Trump — fall in the polls, that is — may be slowly materializing. Though the summer’s perennial frontrunner continues to lead in most polls, his margin continues to slip. In recent weeks, Dr. Ben Carson’s been giving Trump a run for his money, money, money MONEY (am I the only one who hears that song in my head when I write those words in relation to Donald Trump?) — even tying him in some polls.
Beyond Trump and Carson, however, the other candidates have continued to lag far behind. Today, however, a new poll shows that now may be changing — and Trump and Carson may have fresh competition coming behind in the form of Sen. Marco Rubio.
As The Hill reports:
Presidential candidate Donald Trump continues to lead the crowded GOP field by double digits, according to the latest survey from the left-leaning Public Policy Polling (PPP) released Tuesday, but more than one opponent is gaining on him.
Trump leads with 27 percent support, down 2 points from a survey conducted at the end of August, while retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson has gained a couple of points and stands at 17 percent.
Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) follows at 13 percent — a 6-point increase from the outlet’s last survey more than a month ago — with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush steady at 10 percent.
Rounding out the top tier of GOP candidates nationally are Texas Sen. Ted Cruz at 7 percent, former businesswoman Carly Fiorina at 6 percent, and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who take 4 percent support apiece.
Rubio is viewed favorably by 57 percent of GOP primary voters in the latest PPP poll, putting him second only to Carson. About a quarter, 24 percent, of voters view the Florida senator unfavorably.
In that time, Trump has dropped a net 14 points in favorability since late August, now standing at 50 percent favorability to 38 percent unfavorable.
The survey of 627 GOP primary voters was conducted Thursday to Monday via landlines and the Internet with a margin of error of 3.9 points.
Amidst the anti-establishment sentiment dominating this election cycle — where the two top contenders to date have never held political office — Sen. Rubio’s rise is particularly notable. Rubio’s momentum has been bolstered in recent weeks by his performance in the last debate — where he demonstrated, in particular, foreign policy chops. And one has to wonder how much his debate performance was boosted by heightened awareness of Russia’s increasing dominance on the world stage in recent weeks — as if to remind voters of the critical importance of strong foreign policy in our next president (so sorely lacking in the current one). As the new PPP poll suggests, Rubio also benefits from a high favorability rating of 57%, compared to Trump’s falling favorability, which now stands at 50%.
But perhaps as interesting as Rubio’s rise is how Trump fares in head-to-head lineups with his GOP rivals. As Public Policy Polling notes:
Although he’s still in first place by a wide margin the news isn’t all good for Trump… He’s lost ground in head to head match ups with the other leading GOP contenders. The only one he leads is Bush by 20 points at 56/36, although even that is down from his 25 point advantage at 59/34 last time. Last month he led Rubio (50/42) and Fiorina (48/41) in head to heads, now he trails them 50/43 and 47/45 respectively. And what was already a 49/43 deficit to Carson one on one has now grown to 52/41.
So, will Trump’s fall continue as the leaves continue to fall outside? The only thing that appears to be certain at this point is that a lot of things are likely to shift between now and the first caucus — still nearly four months out.
[Note: This article was written by Michelle Jesse, Associate Editor]