Newly declared Presidential candidate Businessman Donald Trump has proven the political elite and commentators wrong with an encouraging second place in a poll of likely Republican primary voters in New Hampshire. The never-bashful Trump posted links to stories touting the poll results on Twitter and to his campaign website, though he has repeatedly made it clear that he is far more accustomed to finishing first.
Fifty-three people out of 500 potential voters in New Hampshire who participated in the poll, or 10.6 percent, said they would vote for Trump for president, while 72 people, or 14.4 percent, went for former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who has not yet officially declared his candidacy but is expected to do so in the coming weeks, came in third place, with 42 votes, among the 19 candidates vetted by pollsters from Suffolk University in Boston.
However, nearly half of voters polled – 48.6 percent said they harbor an unfavorable opinion of Trump. In fact, every other Republican scored higher than Trump in favorability – even potential candidate New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who seemed a promising early contender but has fallen out of favour even among Republicans in his home state for scandals and his brash style. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio at 7%, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson at 6% and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie at 5%. No other candidates earned more than 5% in the Suffolk survey.
When asked for their second choice candidate, 14% of likely GOP voters named Bush, 13% selected Rubio, 10% picked Walker, 7% said Trump and 6% said businesswoman Carly Fiorina.
Trump’s popularity may be partly due to the freshness of his entry into the race. The poll was conducted right after he announced his presidency at Trump Tower in New York in a widely covered off-the-cuff speech. The announcement set him apart from his peers in more ways than one: through braggadocio about his purported $10 billion personal wealth and bold policy proposals, such as building a giant wall to secure the Mexican border. Trump also criticized Bush for his support of the Common Core curriculum and called the former governor “weak on immigration.”
Trump’s newfound popularity as reflected in the small New Hampshire poll does not necessarily reflect his viability as a candidate nationwide. His comments on immigration in particular are not likely to sit well with Hispanic voters, who accounted for about 10 percent of voters in the 2012 election and heavily voted Democrat, according to the Pew Research Center. The New Hampshire poll primarily reflected the views of older white Republican voters: about 62 percent of participants were at least 45 years old and 91 percent were white.
Trump took aim at Democrats in general and President Obama specifically at a GOP event in Linthicum Tuesday. “The American dream is dead but I’m going to bring it back bigger and better than ever,” Trump told the crowd at the 25th annual Red, White and Blue Dinner
The event, a fundraiser for the Maryland Republican Party pulled in more money than many previous dinners. State party Executive Director Joe Cluster said he expected to take in about $100,000.