A new Monmouth University poll has Trump at 26 percent, easily topping his competitors. The next-closest candidates — former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker — are at 12 percent and 11 percent, respectively.
Both the new Monmouth survey and an average of the five most recent live-caller polls — Fox News’ criteria for whittling the list of Republicans down to 10 candidates for Thursday night’s debate — reinforce the tiers that have developed since Trump upended the race by surging to the top.
Beneath Trump, Bush and Walker are five more candidates who are hovering around 6 percent in the poll average (and scored between 4 percent and 6 percent in the Monmouth poll): pediatric neurosurgeon Ben Carson, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.
I suppose the theory (or at least the hope from the Bush campaign) is that majority of GOP primary voters will eventually unite behind Jeb. But the folks supporting Cruz, Huckabee, Paul, even Carson and Christie seem more likely to back Trump. He is more similar to all of them in temperament and rhetoric. I wonder if the GOP establishment will at some point pressure Walker or Rubio to withdraw as their supporters seem likely Bush voters.
I know it’s almost a year until the GOP convention but gee, Jeb, your dad and your brother were both president. You were governor of a state for a while and now you’re losing to Donald Trump by 14 points? That’s only acceptable if the poll was conducted by Trump himself.