Polling experts agree on one thing when it comes to Donald Trump’s presidential run: They’ve never seen anything like it.
The billionaire businessman’s dominance of the Republican presidential race is forcing experienced political hands to question whether everything they know about winning the White House is wrong.
The shocks have come in quick succession, with Trump first rocketing to the top of national polls, and then taking double-digit leads in the early voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.
In another act of political magic, Trump managed to flip his favorability rating from negative to positive in one poll during the span of a month — a feat that Monmouth University’s Patrick Murray called “astounding.”
“That defies any rule in presidential politics that I’ve ever seen,” Murray, the director Monmouth’s Polling Institute, told The Hill.
Trump’s favorability rose from 20 percent to 52 percent among Republican voters between July and August, Monmouth found.
While a later CNN/ORC Poll did not find a similar shift in Trump’s favorability, the Monmouth data was yet another sign that he is a candidate to be reckoned with.
“Throw out the rulebook when it comes to Trump, that’s not even in the parameters of what we see as unusual,” Murray insisted.
Trump’s dominance of the race has flustered the Republican field, with many of the candidates trying their best to bring him back to earth.
But as the attacks on Trump have intensified, so has his level of support.
Polls released on Tuesday show Trump lapping the field in New Hampshire, where he leads his nearest Republican rival by 24 percentage points. The story is the same in South Carolina, where the latest poll gave him a 15-point edge.
While political scientists and other experts continue to insist Trump will not win the Republican nomination, he’s converted at least one high-profile skeptic.
GOP pollster Frank Luntz had dismissed Trump from the start, and declared after the first presidential debate that his campaign was doomed.
But after convening a focus group on Monday evening, in which Trump supporters showed an unflappable allegiance, Luntz changed his tune.
“This is real. I’m having trouble processing,” he said, according to Time…
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