Donald Trump is once again alone at the top of the Republican field, according to the latest CNN/ORC Poll, with 36% of registered Republicans and Republican-leaning independents behind him, while his nearest competitor trails by 20 points.
Three candidates cluster behind Trump in the mid-teens, including Texas Sen. Ted Cruz at 16%, former neurosurgeon Ben Carson at 14% and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio at 12%. All other candidates have the support of less than 5% of GOP voters in the race for the Republican Party’s nomination for president.
Carson (down 8 points since October), former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (down 5 points to 3%) and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul (down 4 points to 1%) have lost the most ground since the last CNN/ORC poll, conducted in mid-October.
Cruz (up 12 points) and Trump (up 9 points) are the greatest beneficiaries of those declines. Rubio is also up slightly, gaining 4 points — an increase within the poll’s margin of sampling error — since the last CNN/ORC poll.
Here is the full national breakdown in a readable format:
GOP voters have clearly consolidated down to a selection of four candidates. Chris Christie is gaining a little more attention since the issue of terrorism is front and center as of late. He’s also had a couple good debate performances which have garnered some support. It won’t be enough to mount any serious run, but he’s having a moment in the spotlight.
For Jeb Bush to be down at three percent shows you just how bad the establishment players are doing this time around. I’d consider the upcoming debate on December 15 as a “last stand” for all the candidates under ten percent. If they can’t dig out after five debates, it’s over.
Rand Paul has taken a stinging hit due to the prevalence of ISIS and terrorism in the news. His brand of libertarian foreign policy is just not selling among the GOP faithful and he’s paying dearly for it. I actually suspect he may exit before the next debate simply given the insurmountable hill ahead of him. He’s also reportedly being pressured to abandon his presidential campaign to focus on holding his Senate seat.