This week, my organization Citizens United released the results of our second member presidential preference poll of the 2016 election cycle.
A cross-section of more than 4,900 grassroots conservatives were asked who their first and second choices are for President of the United States at this time. The poll ran from Friday September 18th to Wednesday September 23rd. What a difference three months makes!
In our first member poll released on June 24th, Dr. Ben Carson and Gov. Scott Walker were essentially tied for the lead at 18 percent. In this week’s poll, we can confirm that the Republican primary race has a definitive frontrunner. Donald Trump received a commanding 31 percent of the vote, up a whopping 18 percent from our previous poll (Trump was in fourth place at 13 percent in June).
Gov. Walker’s fall was almost as dramatic as his rise on the heels of his outstanding January speech at Citizens United’s Freedom Summit in Iowa. In this poll, Walker’s support dropped from 18 percent to less than 2 percent. In fairness to the Governor, he dropped out of the race three days into the poll, but the results would not have been much different based on the preliminary results that came in.
We can report that second and third place switched positions in our September poll. Senator Ted Cruz has shot to second place at 19 percent of the vote (up from 16 percent), while Dr. Carson has remained steady at 17 percent (Carson received 18 percent of the vote in June). When adding together Trump’s and Cruz’s first choice and second choice percentages, the two are completely deadlocked. Trump comes in at 38.9 percent and Cruz gets 38.8 percent. Senator Cruz led the pack with second choice votes at 20 percent.
Carly Fiorina is clearly benefiting from her stellar debate performance at President Reagan’s library in California. Mrs. Fiorina has surged from 3 percent to 11 percent when comparing the June and September polls, taking her to fourth place.
The most noteworthy statistic in the poll by far is that the top four finishers — Trump, Cruz, Carson, and Fiorina — get an astonishing 78 percent of the total vote! In a field of 15 or 16 candidates, that is almost incomprehensible, but it sends a message that is crystal clear. Grassroots conservatives want an anti-establishment outsider — a change agent — to be the Republican nominee for president. This is a result of the failed status quo that has been choking Washington, D.C. for so long. Career politicians need not apply. Evidence of this is supported by the poll’s finding that former Governor Jeb Bush is below 2 percent, as is Governor Chris Christie, Senator Lindsey Graham, and a host of other establishment candidates.
Citizens United is looking forward to getting back in the field to poll our loyal and dedicated grassroots conservative members across the country in the months to come. Where will the race go from here? We’ll just have to wait and find out!