Because of the small sample size, there were a lot of questions surrounding Monday’s Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll that showed Donald Trump leading the Republican primary field and, interestingly enough, appearing to siphon votes away from establishment candidates like Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio.
A Monmouth University poll, also released Monday and with a somewhat larger sample size and smaller margin of error, shows Trump in first place, beating both Scott Walker and Jeb Bush combined.
The poll puts Trump in first place with 26% support. Second place Jeb Bush and third place Scott Walker sit at 12% and 11%, respectively.
That is what you call a blow out.
The remainder of the “top ten” includes Ted Cruz (6%), Mike Huckabee (6%), Ben Carson (5%), Chris Christie (4%), Rand Paul (4%), Marco Rubio (4%), and John Kasich (3%). Carly Fiorina and Rick Perry each earn 2% and Bobby Jindal, Rick Santorum, Lindsey Graham, George Pataki, and Jim Gilmore each get 1% or less. Another 10% of GOP voters say they still are unsure who they will support for the party’s nomination.
Compared to the last Monmouth poll just three weeks ago, Trump’s support increased 13%, while Walker jumped 4%. Bush and Cruz both lost 3%.
The biggest news here is the increase in Trump’s favorability rating, which is now at 52% favorable to 35% unfavorable.
Three weeks ago, the millionaire businessman was upside-down 40% to 41%.
Currently, Trump’s favorability rating is higher than that of Mike Huckabee (51%), Rand Paul (48%), Rick Perry (46%), Ben Carson (45%), Bobby Jindal (36%), and Carly Fiorina (30%). Chris Christie, Lindsey Graham, and George Pataki are currently at 30% favorable or below.
Moreover, Trump’s 52% favorability ties Bush and Cruz. Only Marco Rubio beats Trump with 54%.
Trump’s unfavorable rating is only 6% higher than that of Jeb Bush.
Trump is winning among men and women, young and old, conservative Republicans and liberal Republicans, Tea Party Republicans and non-Tea Party Republicans.
As Trump rose in the polls, his detractors in the media and GOP Establishment kept pointing to his high unfavorable ratings as a sign that his potential ceiling of support was too low for him to win the Republican nomination.
According to this poll, at least, that is no longer the case. All you need in a two-person race is 51%. That number is even lower when you add more candidates.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC