Is Donald Trump's presidential star falling? Polls and pundits see a dip.
Donald Trump was the top choice for 26 percent of Republican voters last month, but now 8 percent say he's their No. 1 pick.
More than a few Republican strategists are hoping and praying that Donald Trump's 15 minutes are just about over as a potential presidential candidate.Skip to next paragraph
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Former Bush adviser Karl Rove has called the idea of a presidential run by the real estate mogul/reality TV star a "joke." Pollster Whit Ayres dubs him "a snake oil salesman." In private, Republicans worry that he's so good at attracting media attention, he has deprived more credible candidates of political oxygen.
But now that the Obama birth certificate issue has faded, The Donald’s poll numbers among Republican voters are fading too. In the newest major poll, by Public Policy Polling (PPP), Mr. Trump is down to 8 percent. PPP, a Democratic firm, had him at 26 percent a month ago. Overall, in the Real Clear Politics rolling average of major polls, he has slipped to third place with 13 percent among GOP voters. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee are each a bit above 16 percent.
But Trump may have another five minutes left on the clock. He has promised to announce his presidential intentions (yea or nay) by June, though he will not reveal an announcement date during the two-part season finale of his show “The Celebrity Apprentice” May 15 and 22 as previously stated, Mr. Trump’s spokesman told National Journal.
"It's not inconceivable that he will make an announcement either before or after the finale, which we would clearly let you know about," spokesman Michael Cohen said Tuesday.
All of which furthers speculation that Trump's flirtation with the presidency is just a publicity stunt. But there's no doubt he remains catnip for the media. He's colorful and outspoken, and his critique of President Obama's tenure resonates with many conservatives – which gets him on TV, which keeps his name out there, which keeps him "top of mind" for some Republicans when pollsters come calling.
Trump kept the drumbeat going Wednesday in a luncheon speech at the Greater Nashua Chamber of Commerce in New Hampshire, home of the first GOP primary. “I’m thinking about running,” he reasserted, the Nashua Telegraph reported. He also floated some policy ideas, such as extracting $1.5 trillion worth of Iraq’s oil reserves to pay the US back for the cost of the war there.
At this point, it’s still early in the 2012 cycle, and the Republican field is forming slowly, at least compared with four years ago. Of the top four in the Real Clear Politics average, both Mr. Huckabee and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin have shown few serious signs that they actually intend to run – another reason to take these early polls with a grain of salt.
"The fact that no one consistently scores above 20 percent doesn't tell you that Trump is a leading candidate. It tells you that Republicans are very dissatisfied with their choices," says Mr. Ayres. "It tells you that this nomination battle is totally wide open, and there is an opportunity for a serious and credible candidate to catch fire and make a run. That serious and credible candidate is not Donald Trump."