I received a robo-call from Ben Carson this morning, . . . asking for money, and the New York Times thinks The Donald is around for the long haul. It’s a long way to 2016 elections.
I don’t worry about anything,’’ Donald J. Trump told me aboard his 757 as we were flying to the recent Republican debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif. He was dividing his attention between the brick-size slice of red-velvet cake he was annihilating and the CNN commentator on the 57-inch television who at that moment was talking about Trump, as most commentators have been at pretty much every moment for the last three months. The commentator, Dylan Byers, was saying that Trump now ran the risk of ‘‘jumping the shark’’ because voters were becoming so familiar with his act. ‘‘Nah,’’ Trump said, smirking at the screen. As the real estate and reality-show tycoon sees things, this is all win-win for him. Peggy Noonan of The Wall Street Journal wrote something to this effect recently, Trump told me, explaining that even if he loses, ‘‘he goes back to being Donald Trump, but even bigger.’’
The Trump campaign may be a win-win for Trump, but it is a monstrous dilemma for a lot of other people. It is a dilemma for the Republican Party and a dilemma for the people Trump is running against. They would love to dismiss him as a sideshow and declare his shark jumped, except he keeps dominating the campaign and the conversation, and they have no clue whether to engage, attack, ignore or suck up in response. It is a dilemma for the elected leaders, campaign strategists, credentialed pundits and assorted parasites of the ‘‘establishment.’’ They have a certain set of expectations, unwritten rules and ways of doing things that Trump keeps flouting in the most indelicate of ways. And, of course, it is a dilemma for the media, who fear abetting a circus. This is why The Huffington Post announced in July that it would publish stories about Trump only in its ‘‘entertainment’’ section, so that when it all ended, as it surely would soon, the website could remain pristine and on the side of the high-minded. A similar sort of worry prevented me from writing about Trump throughout his rise this summer. Initially, I dismissed him as a nativist clown, a chief perpetrator of the false notion that President Obama was not born in the United States — the ‘‘birther’’ movement. And I was, of course, way too incredibly serious and high-minded to ever sully myself by getting so close to Donald Trump.
A FOX News poll has Hillary tanking in a big way and Trump still flying high. And let no one forget. He still has the money. Carson is becoming increasingly more popular and his name recognition is soaring. Bush? Not so much.
While each of the GOP candidates included in the poll has a net positive rating among Republicans, there are big differences. For example, Carson is way ahead of the pack with a net positive score of +52 points, while Bush has about as many Republicans viewing him positively as negatively for a net rating of +1. Here are the scores for the other candidates tested: Marco Rubio (+35), Fiorina (+30), Ted Cruz (+21), Trump (+12), Chris Christie (+4) and John Kasich (+3).
While only 34 percent of all voters have a favorable opinion of Trump, some 53 percent of Republicans like him.
The number of Republicans who view Bush favorably has dropped 10 points since May. He currently receives a 34 percent favorable overall, and a 46 percent favorable among Republicans.
Cruz’s positive ratings have held steady, but negative ratings of him are up 10 points among Republicans.
In general, Trump (98 percent familiar) and Bush (96 percent familiar) have the highest name recognition of the candidates tested, while Kasich (63 percent familiar) is the least well-known
Here’s a current roll call of the current candidates, on both sides of the isle, unless of course you consider all of Washington a Uni-party, then, here’s the entire mix, via NYT.