Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

How Trump Has Reached a Plateau

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

How Trump Has Reached a Plateau

Article excerpt

While Donald Trump continues to lead in the Republican nomination contest, opponents Sen. Ted Cruz and Sen. Marco Rubio are playing a swift catch-up game.

According to the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, 34 percent of registered Republicans and Republican-leaning Independents say they'd like to see the real estate mogul win the nomination. But those who "strongly unfavor" Mr. Trump are up 12 points since November, and his favorability has gone down by 17 in that same period.

When compared one-on-one with Senators Cruz and Rubio, Trump falls behind. Nearly seven in 10 survey respondents say they prefer the two senators over the reality TV star if the competition was limited to just two candidates.

In these hypothetical clashes, Trump trails Cruz, 54 percent to 41 percent. With Rubio, it's a slightly smaller margin but the Florida senator still comes out on top, 51 percent to 45 percent. Meanwhile, with every candidate in the picture, Cruz has 25 percent of support, Rubio has 18 percent, and John Kasich has 13 percent. All three numbers reflect rising momentum since January, especially for the Governor Kasich. In two months, the Ohio governor has gained 11 percentage points.

Trump, on the other hand, has seen a decreasing fanbase since December, when he peaked at 38 percent. Although the two-way matchups show only minimal leads over him, they indicate Trump's limits within the Republican party. His diminishing popularity - not to mention, the crescendo of disapproval from party leaders - points to the possibility of a contested convention in July, if no candidate wins the necessary 1,237 delegates to secure the nomination.

The demographics in which Trump performs most poorly include strong conservatives and evangelical white Protestants. Very conservative Republican-leaning voters prefer Cruz over Trump by 60 percent to 34 percent, and Rubio to Trump by 56 percent to 41 percent. …

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