Trump stumped by poll slump ahead of tonight's debate

Campaign 2016
by Kent Covington & Nick Eicher
Posted 10/28/15, 12:00 pm

The staff of The World and Everything in It has profiled 22 possible 2016 presidential candidates in its “White House Wednesday” series. Now they take a look at who’s ahead and who’s making moves as the primaries get closer.

The stage will look much the same in tonight’s GOP presidential debate as it did in September, but not every candidate enjoys the same position in the polls as last month. 

Donald Trump has dropped from a strong No. 1 to a statistical dead heat with Ben Carson in the newest national poll by The New York Times and CNN. Carson earned 26 percent of respondents’ support; Trump had 22 percent; and everyone else had single digits. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., follows closest at 8 percent; then Carly Fiorina and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush with 7 percent each. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich each have 4 percent.

That’s a national poll, though, and primaries are won state by state. Carson has pulled ahead of Trump in two polls of voters who’ll be voting first in Iowa.

Asked by the cable network MSNBC what he makes of his tumble into second place in Iowa, Trump seemed stumped.

“I don’t get it,” he said. “I’m going there actually today, and I have tremendous crowds and tremendous love in the room, and we seem to have hit a chord. But some of these polls coming out, I don’t quite get it.”

The so-called undercard debate kicks off at 6 p.m. tonight with Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former New York Gov. George Pataki, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania. The main-stage debate will air at 8 p.m., also on the CNBC cable network.

The primetime debate originally was slated to last three hours, but CNBC caved to pressure from Trump and Carson to limit it to two hours and give each candidate a short closing statement. 

Just ahead of the debate, WORLD Radio has revised its Presidential Power Rankings, our monthly snapshot of each candidate’s strength. Here’s where the top 10 stand:

  1. Ben Carson
  2. Donald Trump
  3. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio
  4. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush
  5. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz
  6. Carly Fiorina
  7. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee
  8. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie
  9. Ohio Gov. John Kasich
  10. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul

Listen to “White House Wednesday” on The World and Everything in It.

Nick Eicher

Nick lives in St. Louis, loves the Blues (as in the NHL), is executive producer of WORLD Radio, and co-hosts WORLD's radio news magazine The World and Everything in It. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickEicher.

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