Trump takes lumps in polls
Laughed off as a ‚Äėliberal‚Äô
A poll and a scathing message from an influential anti-tax group serve as a blunt reminder to Donald Trump that there‚Äôs a long road ahead of him if he wants to be a serious contender for president.
With no clear favorite for the GOP‚Äôs 2012 presidential nominee, the Manhattan billionaire has spent months flirting with a White House bid and seen his name jump in some presidential polls, while he leveled stiff criticism at the Obama White House. He boasts about what he sees as his conservative credentials, overall smarts and top-notch business pedigree.
But the real estate and hotel magnate got a gut check Monday after Chris Chocola, president of the Club for Growth, called Mr. Trump‚Äôs potential candidacy a joke, labeling him as just another ‚Äútax-hiking liberal‚ÄĚ and ‚Äúthe King of Protectionism‚ÄĚ when it comes to international trade. Rasmussen Reports, meanwhile, released a poll that showed more than half of the people surveyed didn‚Äôt hold Mr. Trump in a positive light ‚ÄĒ a finding that the pollster said doesn‚Äôt bode well for anyone eyeing the White House.
‚ÄúA lot of the Republican contenders struggle because nobody knows who they are, so they have low support,‚ÄĚ said Scott Rasmussen, founder and president of Rasmussen Reports. ‚ÄúWith Donald Trump, 53 percent of the country already have a unfavorable opinion of you. That‚Äôs a tough way to run for president.‚ÄĚ
Those negatives run contrary to the warm reception Mr. Trump has received in recent months, including at the Conservative Political Action Conference, where he won a standing ovation after delivering a speech that bashed Mr. Obama‚Äôs tenure in the White House and repeated his claim that China should face taxes on imports until it stops manipulating its currency.
‚ÄúAnd I can tell you this, if I run and if I win, this country will be respected again,‚ÄĚ Mr. Trump told the crowd, sending them into a frenzy.
Since then, Mr. Trump has embarked on media blitz, where he has expressed doubts about the president‚Äôs birth certificate and whether Mr. Obama actually was born in Hawaii, reviving the so-called ‚Äúbirther‚ÄĚ controversy that many have considered a dead issue.
Along the way, polls suggest, he has made himself into a top contender for the 2012 Republican nomination. The Real Clear Politics average of GOP presidential polls shows him running in third place behind former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
But many people wonder whether Mr. Trump is serious about running or simply is trying to score free press to promote his other business ventures, including the reality-TV series ‚ÄúThe Apprentice.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúI think Donald Trump is going to help his TV-show ratings,‚ÄĚ Mr. Rasmussen said.