August has been an eventful month in terms of GOP politics. The primary season is officially underway now that the first GOP debate has occurred. And perhaps more significantly, GOP front-runner Donald Trump was indicted.
So, how has an eventful August influenced the GOP polls?
A Donald Trump Poll Dip?
In all, 29 separate polls have been conducted since Donald Trump’s fourth indictment was announced on August 14th. At the time, Trump enjoyed an average of 53 percent in national polls. Since the indictment, Trump has fallen slightly, to 50 percent.
But was Trump’s dip due to the fourth indictment? It’s more complicated than that.
“The Georgia indictment came on the hells of another big set of charges: On Aug.1 Trump was indicted by a federal grand jury, also for allegedly interfering with the 2020 election. And only five combinations of pollsters and sponsors conducted polls both in the period between the two indictments” so “it would be impossible to say that Trump’s 3-percentage-point decline is due to the Georgia indictment. It could have been due to the third indictment, or any other combination of events that occurred over those two months,” according to FiveThirtyEight.
His Mistake? Maybe Donald Trump Shouldn’t Have Skipped the Debate
Perhaps Trump’s support dipped on account of his decision to skip the first GOP debate in Milwaukee.
While Trump (who chose to participate in a Tucker Carlson interview instead of the debate) was absent from the debate stage, the remaining candidates – many of whom struggle to get a word in when Trump is around – had the stage all to themselves. Guys like Mike Pence and Chris Christie were able to have the spotlight (relatively) to themselves for a minute. Vivek Ramaswamy was able to introduce himself to a national audience – and then dominate the conversation.
Everyone was able to step out, momentarily, from beneath Trump’s shadow and say their piece and garner some name recognition. So, Trump’s post-debate poll dip may not necessarily reflect voter disproval over his decision to skip the debate, but rather a reflection that voters are recognizing alternative candidates for the first time in the primary.
“According to three pairs of polls whose first half was fielded after the indictment but before the debate and whose second half was fielded after the debate, Trump’s national support dropped by an average of 4 points,” FiveThirtyEight reported.
More tellingly, “a FiveThirtyEight/Washington Post/Ipsos poll conducted using Ipsos’s KnowledgePanel found that 5 percent of Republican likely voters who watched the debate were considering voting for Trump before it but not after it, making him the only candidate to lose a significant amount of potential support.”
Unlikely to Change the Outcome
Trump’s polling dip probably doesn’t matter much. Remember, the guy is still logging a national average of 50 percent despite having to compete for votes with something like a dozen candidates.
With such a crowded GOP field, Trump likely won’t have to secure a majority of voters to secure the nomination – he’ll only need a plurality – yet, Trump appears capable of securing a majority, nonetheless.
A lot can happen between now and the GOP convention, but safe money is on Trump bagging his third consecutive GOP nomination.
Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor and opinion writer at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, Harrison joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. Harrison listens to Dokken.
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