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.
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Trump's profanity-laced tirade at a rally in Las Vegas on April 28 didn't exactly help the billionaire pivot toward a more presidential image. But not all Republicans are willing to rule out that Trump could try to become a bona fide contender, with a full campaign apparatus and serious policy positions. He just hasn't taken that step yet. In an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal published May 1, Trump was asked if he had a pollster. His reply: "I don't need pollsters. You know what my poll is? It's my brain. My poll is my brain."Skip to next paragraph
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"Not every campaign has the luxury of having a Karl Rove or David Axelrod on staff, but it will certainly take more horsepower than Trump is currently surrounded by," Mr. O'Connell says. "Additionally, Donald Trump has to understand that to win the GOP nomination, he has to be willing to take direction from his campaign team or he will continue to have serious gaffes and unforced errors on the campaign trail, like he recently did in Nevada."
But, O’Connell adds, “thus far, I am not seeing any evidence that Trump is taking the necessary steps to be a viable contender.”
Even if he gets serious about staffing and cleans up his act, Trump may have too much baggage to catch on in a big way. He has a history of donating to Democratic politicians. He is on his third marriage. And he used to espouse quite a different policy line, including favoring tax increases, single-payer health care, and abortion rights.
Trump's financial history, which has had its ups and downs, would also be fertile ground for media investigation. With a net worth in the billions, Trump could self-finance a campaign, but he would still need to raise money to show voter buy-in.
Some voters cite his business success and willingness to go after Obama as reasons to support him, but some Republicans aren't sure that's enough to mount a credible campaign.
"He's a successful businessman, but there's a big difference between dealing with real estate brokers in New York and dealing with [Russian Prime Minister Vladimir] Putin," says GOP pollster David Winston. "And the idea of simply saying we're going to take Libya's oil just doesn't work. While initially that may sound entertaining, people understand it takes more than that to deal in international affairs."
Obama also had to address the inexperience question when he ran four years ago. But now he is the incumbent, and, on the international stage, has garnered the most compelling experience of all: overseeing the operation that got Osama bin Laden. The birther issue suddenly looks especially small.
In the end, general-election voters suggest that Trump is just plain unelectable. A majority of Americans – 58 percent – say they "would never vote for" Trump, according to the Quinnipiac poll. The only other potential candidate who scored a majority in the "never vote for" column was Ms. Palin, also at 58 percent.