USA TODAY US Edition
TRUMP TIGHTENS HIS GRIP
Twenty-one of 30 political experts surveyed gave first-place marks to Trump this week, and his candidacy appears to be transitioning to a real presidential campaign.
Four weeks ago, we were predicting the demise of Donald Trump. Today, his grip on the GOP nominating contest seems as strong as ever.
Twenty-one of 30 political experts surveyed gave first-place marks to Trump this week, his highest total since Week 3 of our Power Rankings survey.
Trump’s candidacy appears to be making the transition from an upstart spectacle to a real presidential campaign. He is even raising money despite telling people he does not need them to donate.
“I actually had a chance to attend a Trump rally in Richmond, Virginia, last week, and I was struck by the evolution of Trump’s stump speech,” said Emory University’s Andra Gillespie. “He is still invoking the same themes and the same bluster, but his stump speech is evolving into something that looks more traditional. It suggests that Trump may be taking this campaign more seriously than we gave him credit for earlier this year.”
Democratic pollster Margie Omero agreed: “People rejoiced in the last few weeks, thinking Trump’s numbers have faltered but they’ve rebounded some. It seems he stays strong no matter what the press says.”
Part of Trump’s return to dominance is that his challengers keep losing traction. Carly Fiorina took over first place in our Power Rankings after the second Republican debate, but she has quickly faded.
“Fiorina failed to build on debate success,” said Carl Leubsdorf of The Dallas Morning
News. She had 13 first-place votes from our panel in Week 4. This week, she had none.
Ben Carson (three first-place votes) and Marco Rubio (four) remain in the hunt, though Rubio was not helped by questions about exactly how much money he raised in the third quarter of this year.