Is this (finally) the beginning (really) of the end (maybe) for Donald Trump?

(AP Photo / Mark Humphrey)

There’s buzz this morning about a new CBS/New York Times national poll that shows Ben Carson leading Donald Trump by 4 percentage points. It’s the first time since mid-July that a pollster that puts out results regularly has shown anyone but Trump leading the Republican primary nationally. “Peak Trump” has been declared, erroneously, almost as many times as “peak oil.” Is there reason to believe it’s real this time?

I often refer to polling averages such as the ones on Real Clear Politics and Huffington Post because they’re useful for seeing the state of the horse race in a way that minimizes the effects of outlier polls. But today I want instead to look at trend lines in several polls individually to see how pollsters, using their same methodology each time, are tracking the race over time. I selected the six national pollsters that (per RCP) have reported results sometime in October, and looked at their results going back to before Trump officially entered the race (I stopped at May 31 since that gave me a pre-entrance result for all but CBS, which didn’t put out a poll until August). Here are two charts showing what I found.

First, Trump’s own result in each poll:

Trump Poll Numbers Datawrapper Chart 3

Source: Real Clear Politics. Created using Datawrapper.

 

 

As you can see, Trump skyrocketed early on, then grew more gradually until mid- to late September. Since then, he has fallen in four of the six polls. Now let’s look at his leads in the six polls (a negative number represents the distance between him and the leader of the poll):

Trump Poll Leads Datawrapper Chart 2

Source: Real Clear Politics. Created using Datawrapper.

Here, you can see that in five of the six polls, Trump’s lead has shrunk during the past month or two. The exception is the NBC/WSJ poll, which showed his lead recovering slightly in October but still below its late-July peak. In the five polls in which he still leads, three of those leads are down to the low single-digits.

The polling average, which incorporates other polls as well, shows Trump below his mid-September peak but also his recent trough a couple of weeks ago. If individual polls continue to trend downward for him, however, we can probably expect the polling average to fall over time, too.

Of course, with a debate coming up tomorrow night, we’ll soon have another inflection point in the race that could either put Trump back on an upswing or firm up his swoon. As Carson has been the only candidate to gain any strong momentum lately — Marco Rubio has seen a steady uptick in polling averages over the past month, Carly Fiorina has fallen back after a sharp increase following the last debate, and Jeb Bush continues to fall steadily — it’ll be interesting to see if a strong debate from him would turn him into a consensus leader in the polls, or if a weak one would shift momentum back to Trump or to someone new.

Reader Comments 0

41 comments
SteveKJR
SteveKJR

A vote for trump is a vote to eradicate the politically correct

M H Smith
M H Smith

 I'm with Kasich... I've had it with these people! 

M H Smith
M H Smith

Ben Carson wants to abolish Social Security and Medicare. Give Carson a day before people see this guy and his doofus

ideas on governing for what they would be....  Disastrous!


Hillary is going to mess around and watch the GOP self-destruct on her walk into the oval office.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

I guess my inner responsible-citizen really does want tonight’s debate to mark the point at which we realized that Peak Trump was in fact behind us, where we also recognized that while the Doc Carson Eruption was still under way, it would fade fast and soon a qualified public figure with respectable elective office experience began to emerge as an up-and-coming front runner. Because a lot of me recognizes that this Republic is not well served by cartoon characters grabbing the Presidential limelight for months and months on end.

On the other hand? We built this dumb primary system; we in the political-junkie class fed the beast year in, year out, practically begging for such spectacles in past elections. We kept hoping that some Regular Joe / Outsider -type candidate would somehow set the world ablaze and rule… benignly? In a fair, reform-minded manner that left this country in better shape than he’d found it? I’m not sure we ever thought quite that far.

Anyway, I’m just saying, we’re probably getting what we deserve if by this time next week we still don’t see a qualified candidate emerging.

And no, Doc Carson and Outer-Borough Blowhard are not qualified candidates.

lvg
lvg

Anarchy Caucus Loses, 160,000 Jobs Possibly saved; Candidates Silent---



- House passes Ex-IM Bank funding bill after commando raid  by Pelosi forcing it to the floor  Anarchists have held up any renewed funding   for months by refusing to allow it out of a committee. Ryan joined Anarchists in opposing the bill. Boehner voted for it. 160,000 jobs rescued including GE plant in Wisconsin planning to move to Canada..Now it is up to Senate. Stalled  there  with Highway funding bill due to Norquist, tea heads and Cruz. 


Where are the candidates on this crucial Bill?Georgia Senators ?






Bill to the floor





g

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@lvg And companies like Delta lose because Ex-Im finances airplanes at below-commercial rates for their overseas competitors. The "anarchy caucus," as you deem them, just might have recognized the bulk of Ex-Im loans go to companies like GE and Boeing that hardly need the government to finance their sales. This is the epitome of a contrast between "pro-business" (which is good for some businesses, bad for others) and "pro-market" (which doesn't tilt the playing field in anyone's direction).

http://www.ajc.com/weblogs/kyle-wingfield/2014/aug/28/markets-taxpayers-dont-need-these-pro-business-sub/


FIGMO2
FIGMO2

Although Dr. Carson may be an exceptional surgeon in the operating room, I'm afraid it's his blood that would be spilled among Washington's sharks.

The Donald? He's all hat and no cattle. He left his hat hanging on the fence. Inflammatory rhetoric can only take him so far. It's high time the more worthy GOP candidates be given the opportunity to put some distance between he and they.

I'm not looking for perfect. I'm looking for a candidate with new ideas...new solutions.

Neither candidate from the dem side are offering those.

I'm looking forward to the GOP debate.

LilBarryBailout
LilBarryBailout

In a debate, Rubio or Cruz would take Hillary apart.  They're far more intelligent and patriotic and have actual ideas for improving the lives of Americans and Democrats.  Hillary is all hate and fear, all the time, and hasn't done anything in her adult life without a man's coattails.

M H Smith
M H Smith

Next flavor of the week please?

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

I'm curious if the Republicans will talk policy at all or will it be another 


Beatdown in Boulder !!!!! 


Starring Donald Trump. Let the insults fly !!!!!


Frankly the GOP hasn't been about policy or ideas in a long long time. So i'm betting on the latter.


Dusty2
Dusty2

Now is the time to show strong support for JEB.  He is, and always has been, the most experienced, the most intelligent and the best man for the White House.  Dr. Carson is a good man but inexperienced in politics and governing but let him get that before making him president. 


JEB IS THE CELEB OF THE PEOPLE OF America.  He is the one of strongest values and good direction, a winner on all accounts. . 

straker
straker

Rafe - "so what is the difference"


Well, Kyle is actually talking about Trump here, not Hillary.


"Pandering by both" won't cut it for either if they ever get the nomination and have to "debate" for real.



RafeHollister
RafeHollister

@straker So, if we are talking about Obama, no one is allowed to bring up GW Bush?  That would be the day!

Jefferson1776
Jefferson1776

You seem to not like Don.  Why so tough on him ?

straker
straker

When Trump is asked to give an answer of substance, he almost never does.


This has been working, so far, with humorous insults taking the place of honest answers, but it won't work much longer.

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

@straker What substance has Hillary shared with us, that she is a woman and she is not ashamed to play the gender card.  What does that mean exactly?  Sounds very similar to "I'm going to build a wall and make Mexico pay for it."  Pandering by both, so what is the difference?

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@McGarnagle @RafeHollister @straker increase patrol presence and improved surveillance technology is a much better idea then building a wall.


Shhhh you're talking logic and being pragmatic here.


They prefer hearing Trump roar


I'm going to build a wall and make Mexico pay for it.....Right after I make America Great again !!!!

Jefferson1776
Jefferson1776

@RafeHollister @straker Kyle never mentions Secr. Clinton in his article, why do you ?  A former Secr of State and you wonder,  now I see why you like Carson.....

McGarnagle
McGarnagle

@RafeHollister @straker


Even if you are for protecting our borders, increase patrol presence and improved surveillance technology is a much better idea then building a wall. The whole wall idea is ridiculous and caters to people who place their fears onto others.

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

This thing kept timing out, so I did it in two parts, sorry.  Trump has been written off too many times by the Democrat sycophantic press, to think that he is done this easily.  They definitely would like to kill off his campaign and help Hillary. I think it is way too early to count Trump out, he is way, way ahead in SC and FL.  As long as Trump and Carson keep the media focused on them, it drives the establishment ruling class crazy and it is fun to watch.  Love those Karl Rove interviews where he desperately tries to wish the outsiders back to the fringe, but it seems so far at least the folks have had it with the establishment types.

M H Smith
M H Smith

@RafeHollister


As though FREEDOM CAUSE supports Trump?


Trump agitates all of them, including Kyle, that's what's so entertaining.



Carson's hardcore no abortion  in any case and  his slavery statement on Obamacare should cause  sane people concerns not to mention Christian Coalition, if you couldn't vote for a Mormon you should have the same problem with voting for Seven Day Adventist.    

Take a look at some of the things that gives pause to think about. Things even I didn't believe said.  


http://www.browardpalmbeach.com/news/nine-craziest-things-ben-carson-has-ever-said-7322516



The GOP is in trouble. Trump may be there the GOPs' best chance in the general election.

bu2
bu2

@RafeHollister


Trump has gotten an enormous amount of free press.


Carson has done it without that.

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@bu2 Well, maybe with "less of" that. I see his face on the TV in our office quite often through the day.

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

It is the women's vote, they seem to love ole Ben.  It maybe the ole women love their doctor thing.  Hillary will have a hard time with Carson as women are turning on Hillary and seem to feel good about Dr Carson. 

Dusty2
Dusty2

@RafeHollister


Women like Jeb because of his honesty and experience.  They dislike Hillary because of her dishonesty and  HER disasters.

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

@Dusty2 @RafeHollister I haven't run into one (a women for Jeb) but I'm sure there are some out there Dusty.  He is polling 7% so some of them have to be women for sure.

Caius
Caius

Yeah, the impact of tomorrow's debate.  Also the impact of the budget deal if that actually takes place.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

I predict he will Explode before he IMplodes.

lvg
lvg

Can't wait for final two  on GOP side to be Carson and Cruz. That will truly help Hillary.

Finn-McCool
Finn-McCool

Unfortunately for your lot, Carson can't beat Hillary. He probably can't even beat Bernie.

LilBarryBailout
LilBarryBailout

@Finn-McCool

"Your lot" = Real Americans.

Any Real American is going to have difficulty beating the candidate of the Handout party.  We've been transformed into a nation that has a majority who depend on other people's money.

McGarnagle
McGarnagle

Much of Trumps arguments always go back to how he is leading in the polls. It will be fun seeing him squirm when trying to explain actual policy rather then same old rhetoric. I predict he will implode.