So Much For the Winnowing Theory

Last week I noted that Public Policy Polling was beginning to test head-to-head match-ups of Donald Trump with other Republican candidates to assess the idea that Trump would be toast the minute the field was “winnowed” and he could not count on plurality leads with 20% or so. In the first such tests, in NC, Trump indeed trailed Carson, Rubio and Walker–but still led Jeb Bush.

Well, as Martin Longman pointed out today at Ten Miles Square, PPP has done similar head-to-head polling in New Hampshire now, and guess what? Trump’s beating everybody:

Trump has a 56/32 favorability rating and he also leads when you match him with the other Republican hopefuls head to head- it’s 47/39 over Ben Carson, 53/35 over Scott Walker, 53/34 over Marco Rubio, and 56/33 over Jeb Bush.

The only candidates with better favorability ratios than Trump among Republicans are Carly Fiorina and Ben Carson, who in their own ways are more dubious propositions than Trump. Bush–who as you may recall has regarded NH as his must-win early state–joins Christie, Huckabee, Paul (!), Graham and Perry with underwater favorability ratios in the Granite State.

Keep in mind that NH has long been considered a more “typical” state in terms of its Republican rank-and-file voters as Iowa with its heavy concentration of self-conscious Christian Right types. Yet he’s at present leading the three presumed co-front-runners, Bush, Rubio and Walker, by three-to-two in head-to-head polling.

Even if you scoff at early horse-race polls, the trend lines are pretty clear. What will the next rationalization be for ignoring Trump?

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.