Friday, September 18, 2015


Dan Pfeiffer, a former adviser to President Obama and now a CNN commentator, tweeted this before Donald Trump's exchange with a Muslim-bashing fan in New Hampshire last night:

I didn't see the tweet at the time, but that was my first thought when I learned about the incident -- that the questioner was a plant.
"We have a problem in this country. It's called Muslims," an unidentified man who spoke at a question-and-answer town hall event in Rochester, New Hampshire asked the mogul at a rally Thursday night. "You know our current president is one. You know he's not even an American."

A seemingly bewildered Trump interrupted the man, chuckling, "We need this question. This is the first question."

"Anyway, we have training camps growing where they want to kill us," the man, wearing a "Trump" T-shirt, continued. "That's my question: When can we get rid of them?"

"We're going to be looking at a lot of different things," Trump replied. "You know, a lot of people are saying that and a lot of people are saying that bad things are happening. We're going to be looking at that and many other things."

The real estate mogul did not correct the questioner about his claims about Obama before moving on to another audience member.
But I watched the clip, and the exchange seemed too spontaneous, and not crafted for maximum impact (I'd have expected Trump to be more pointed about in his response to the questioner calling Obama a Muslim if he were trolling for did-he-really-say-that? media coverage, and I also would have expected a more pointed response to the training camp question.)

In any case, it does seem as if Trump needed help regaining control of the news cycle, which Carly Fiorina has owned since the debate, and this exchange helped him accomplish that. However, Trump doesn't seem to have needed help with actual GOP voters, if this Morning Consult poll is correct:
Poll: Fiorina Wins Debate, Trump Still Leads

... A plurality of 29 percent of registered voters who watched the debate said Fiorina won, just higher than the 24 percent who said real estate mogul Donald Trump came out on top....

Trump continues to lead the Republican primary field. Thirty-six percent of registered voters who watched the debate said they would choose Trump, compared with 12 percent for Carson and 10 percent for Fiorina. Rubio placed fourth, at 9 percent, followed by 7 percent for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and 6 percent for Bush and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R).

So poll-watching GOP voters say Fiorina won the debate -- but that she barely beat Trump, even though, according to conventional wisdom, he had a mediocre-to-terrible night. And Trump's numbers have gone up with debate-watching Republican voters, as the chart shows. Apparently Fiorina is taking votes from other candidates -- Carson, Bush, Paul (Paul now seems to be close to Bobby Jindal territory). Neither she nor the other gainers (Rubio, Christie, Kasich, Cruz) took any votes from Trump.

Ed Kilgore writes:
So Carly’s boom really just means that now 58% of respondents support a candidate with zero experience in public office. And that’s among the people who actually watched the supposedly Trump-destroying debate.

We’ll see what later polls say, but for the present the idea things are about to return to normal and voters will sagely choose between “real candidates” Bush and Rubio and Kasich looks no closer to reality than before.


mlbxxxxxx said...

Graham appears to fall off the graph. Good to know his scaremongering about ISIS isn't resonating. He looked ready to piss himself or cry or both over the massive threat ISIS represents. My guess is he's next to bow out, if he can beat Pataki. Amazing he couldn't pull this off. He always seemed so presidential.

I really expected to see some bounce up for Bush and for Trump to at best go sideways. GOP voters live in a different world than I do, that is clear. It is, however, still a long way to January, it's one poll, blah, blah, blah. Evangelical leadership is taking a whack at him -- it'll be interesting to see it that leaves a dent in his support.

I did expect to see Santorum show an increase. The small number in that debate gave him time to make his pitch -- it was awfully populist at one point when he ranted about the GOP ignoring workers, but he was able to stand out from the crowd and not sound like a crazy man so I figured he see a bump.

jsk said...

My theory about how Trump will fall: if a few weeks go by in which he hits a plateau in the polls, or in which another candidate gains consistently and significantly on him, we will first see a small but measurable drop in his polling and then, once the drop is confirmed, the bottom will fall out of the campaign. Because the one thing his supporters won't tolerate is a loser.

Aunt Snow said...

I think it's going to stop being fun for Trump eventually.