By Reid Wilson
August 31, 2015 at 12:55 pm ET
Real estate mogul Donald Trump has broadened his lead over his rivals for the Republican presidential nomination, a new poll shows, as more Republican voters begin to see the bombastic billionaire in a favorable light.
The Morning Consult survey shows Trump leading among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents with 37 percent of the vote, compared with just nine percent for the second-place finishers, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) are tied for the next spot with six percent. Former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) claims 5 percent of the vote, barely ahead of Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) at 4 percent.
Ahead of next month’s second Republican debate, to be aired by CNN, the poll finds former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina edging Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) for the 10th and final position on the debate stage. Fiorina’s campaign has taken issue with CNN’s methodology, which would, for the moment, leave her out of 10th place.
Though earlier polls have shown Trump building a broad coalition, a slight gender gap is beginning to emerge. More male voters, 41 percent, say they back Trump than female voters, 32 percent. Trump also gets a disproportionate amount of support from those without a college education, from Republicans in urban areas and from voters who say national security is their most important issue.
(See full crosstabs here)
Trump is almost universally known among registered voters, though just 42 percent say they have a favorable opinion of him. But among self-identified Republicans, 66 percent say they view Trump favorably, markedly better than any other candidate seeking the party’s nomination. By contrast, just 52 percent of Republicans say they view Bush favorably.
Bush’s unfavorable rating among Republican voters, 36 percent, is higher than the 32 percent who say they see Trump unfavorably.
Among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appears to have arrested her summer slump. Clinton leads the Democratic field with 52 percent of the vote, 29 points ahead of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).
Clinton’s lead, which stood at 43 percent at the end of July, slipped precipitously during August, as Sanders gained traction among liberal voters. Clinton leads Sanders among self-described liberals by a 52 percent to 31 percent margin, though Sanders is far less popular among moderate and conservative Democrats. Clinton also boasts much bigger leads among African American Democrats (49 percentage points) and Hispanic Democrats (31 percentage points).
Among all registered voters, Clinton continues to lead all of her potential Republican rivals, though narrowly. She leads Bush by only a 43 percent to 41 percent margin, and she has just a one-point edge — 43 percent to 42 percent — over Trump. Clinton leads Paul, Walker and Rubio by wider margins.
But amid a rising crime rate and a stumbling global economy, voters are in a pessimistic mood, one that could harm Democrats’ chances of maintaining control of the White House. Just 42 percent say they approve of the job President Obama is doing, compared with 55 percent who disapprove.
Only 29 percent of registered voters say the country is headed in the right direction, while 71 percent say the country is headed off on the wrong track. That’s higher than the 65 percent who said the country is on the wrong track in a July Morning Consult survey.
The new Morning Consult survey polled 2,015 registered voters between August 28-30, including subsamples of 769 Republicans and Republican-leaning independents and 913 Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents. The full sample carried a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percent. The margin of error for the Republican sample is plus or minus 3.5 percent, while the Democratic sample carried a margin of error of plus or minus 3.2 percent.
Reid Wilson previously worked at Morning Consult as an editor.