The Slatest

Donald Trump Posts Biggest Polling Lead Yet—but It Might Be Short-Lived

Donald Trump addresses supporters during a political rally at the Phoenix Convention Center on July 11, 2015 in Phoenix

Photo by Charlie Leight/Getty Images

Republicans eagerly waiting for Donald Trump’s campaign to implode are going to have to wait at least a little bit longer. A new national poll from ABC News and the Washington Post shows The Donald with his biggest lead yet in the crowded GOP presidential field. Here are the numbers for the top nine:

  • 1.) Donald Trump, 24 percent
  • 2.) Scott Walker, 13 percent
  • 3.) Jeb Bush, 12 percent
  • 4.) Mike Huckabee, 8 percent
  • 5.) Marco Rubio, 7 percent
  • 6t.) Rand Paul, 6 percent,
  • 6t.) Ben Carson, 6 percent
  • 8t.) Ted Cruz, 4 percent
  • 8t.) Rick Perry, 4 percent


Trump’s 11-point lead is outside of the poll’s margin-of-error for the first time, and his 24-percent total is higher than any Republican candidate has had in any national poll in months. Still, his strong showing is masking the impact that his controversial comments questioning John McCain’s status as a war hero had on his campaign in their immediate aftermath. Trump made those remarks on Saturday, while the poll was conducted over a four-day period that ended on Sunday. The pollsters saw a pretty dramatic swing over that time period. “Trump’s support was 28 percent in this survey’s first three nights of polling,” they write. “While the sample size of registered leaned Republicans on Sunday is quite small, he dropped to the single digits that day.”


Trump’s comments prompted an onslaught of criticism from the GOP establishment and most of his rivals, many of whom were much slower to offer a rebuke to Trump when he made his outrageous comments about Mexican immigrants during his campaign launch. Many observers were quick—and perhaps eager—to see Trump’s attack on McCain as the beginning of the end for his campaign. (“DON VOYAGE!,” the New York Post declared Sunday.) Whether that proves true, of course, remains to be seen. Up until now, Trump’s refusal to play by the traditional rules of politics seems to have done him more good than harm. Even if he does fall from the top spot in the polls in the coming days, it would be a major shock if he dropped out of the top ten and didn’t end up at the Fox News debate early next month. And, assuming he makes it on stage in Cleveland, there’s no telling what he will say there—or how some conservative voters will react.

Elsewhere in Slate: The Case for Covering Trump: Why the media shouldn’t ignore his doomed campaign.

Read more of Slate’s coverage of the 2016 campaign.