The latest University of Massachusetts poll has Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump and Ben Carson in the lead, and shows former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush falling out of favor with voters.
If Donald Trump or Ben Carson wins the Republican nomination, at least 30 percent of voters in favor of either candidate will swing to the other’s side, the poll results, released Nov. 16, found.
The poll found Trump in the lead with 31 percent, while Carson comes in second with 22 percent of votes. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas garnered 13 percent, and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida 9 percent.
“Trump and Carson continue to lead the way as they have for longer than many thought they would, but Cruz and Rubio are well positioned to take advantage if either or both of them falter,” Brian Schaffner, director of the UMass Poll, said.
Bush did not fare well in the poll.
When respondents were asked which candidate they would not be willing to support in their state’s primary, Bush had the most opposition with 50 percent stating they would not vote for him.
“These are frightening numbers for Bush,” Raymond La Raja, associate director of the UMass Poll, said. “More than half of registered primary voters said they would not be willing to vote for him under any scenario. No other top-tier candidate faces this wall of unconvinced voters. Bush may think his campaign treasury will help him outlast other candidates, but that strategy seems implausible if voters do not list him as their second or third choice.”
“This poll is more evidence of the anti-establishment mood in the Republican electorate — Republican voters seem strongly opposed to nominating another career Republican party leader,” Schaffner added.
Given the 6.4 percent margin of error in the poll results, and the 3 percent of votes Bush received, Conservative Review concludes his actual support statistically may be closer to zero.
Although he is in the lead, there was bad news for Trump in the poll, too. Nearly 1 in 3 Republicans polled said they would not vote for him.
“Trump appears to have flat-lined,” La Raja said. “He needs to knock out Carson and Cruz to move forward. But his persuadable voters are fewer than other insurgent candidates. At least one-third of Republican primary voters said they would not consider voting for him.”
Trump and Carson were found to be the candidates most likely to win a general election campaign.
“For supporters of Trump and Carson this is not just a protest vote,” La Raja said. “They actually think these candidates are best positioned to win the general election. That is fascinating given the weakness of their support among political elites and their total lack of government experience.”