Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Why Is Donald Trump Surging in Early Polls?

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Why Is Donald Trump Surging in Early Polls?

Article excerpt

It's the early election surprise no one saw coming: in poll after poll, Donald Trump is surging.

The latest, a CNN/ORC national poll out Wednesday, has Mr. Trump in second place among Republicans, behind former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, one of only two Republicans with double-digit support.

The poll echoes similar polls by Fox News, Suffolk University, and Quinnipiac University, all showing Trump in second place either nationally or in select early primary states like New Hampshire and Iowa.

At the very least, the poll results come as a surprise.

Trump, who has no political experience, entered the race with a hyperbolic, meandering speech at a flashy campaign event at his Trump Tower in Manhattan, that was later found to be populated with actors Trump paid to attend. The controversial speech, in which he bragged about his billions and appeared to suggest Mexican immigrants were drug dealers, rapists, and criminals, certainly caught some voters' attention, if not ire.

In fact, according to some of the same polls cited above, he is the most disliked Republican candidate currently in the race.

So why is Trump topping so many polls? What's driving his success?

Early polls have a lot to do with name recognition and timing. In a field overflowing with nearly 20 GOP candidates, Trump, who is still surging off of his unusual and memorable announcement and has one of the country's most recognized names, well, trumps the competition.

"Donald Trump has strong name recognition and the ability to self- finance his campaign indefinitely. Those qualities make him viable," says Harry Wilson, professor of public affairs and director of the Institute for Policy and Opinion Research at Roanoke College in Salem, Virginia.

"It's an extremely large, and growing, field of Republican candidates. Most Americans are, quite understandably, not fixated on the 2016 Presidential election yet. So, the name currently in the news will garner support in the short run."

Trump, with his luxury hotels and reality TV show career, is a symbol of success to many Americans. As we saw in 1992 with Ross Perot, the wealthy, wild card independent candidate who earned 19 percent of the popular vote in that year's general election, Americans love business success stories. …

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