Seventy-two percent of GOP supporters would prefer either Donald Trump or Ben Carson over the establishment’s favorite, ex-Gov. Jeb Bush, according to a new Ipsos poll of 572 GOP supporters.
The three-way poll, which was conducted by Ipsos for the Reuters news service after the GOP’s Sept. 16 debate in California, shows that Bush had only 25 percent support once all other candidates — including the establishment’s second-favorite candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio — are excluded.
Worse, establishment-favorite Bush had a mere 15 percent support from the critical, election-deciding swing-voters.
In contrast, Trump has 37 percent support among GOP voters and 34 percent among 218 polled swing-voters. Ben Carson is close behind, with 23 percent support among the swing-voters and 28 percent support among GOP voters.
Bush’s anemic performance suggests that the GOP establishment won’t be able to drag him over the finish line by forcing all other pro-establishment candidates out of the race.
Trump’s strong score suggests his huge lead was weakened by a poor debate performance — but can be recovered from voters who are now supporting Carson.
One-quarter, or 28 percent, of the swing-voters declined to pick Trump, Carson, or Bush in the three-way poll. Many of the 28 percent likely vote Democratic in most elections.
The poll was conducted Sept. 19 to Sept 23.
When respondents were invited to pick from the entire slate of GOP candidates, Trump had support from 30 percent, Carson pulled 18 percent, and Bush achieved 10 percent.
Trump’s support fell by five percent, compared to the poll taken before the GOP’s primary Sept. 16 debate in California.
Carly Fiorina, who is being heavily touted by establishment media, won support from only eight percent of the 572 Republicans, and five percent of the 218 independents. Still, that’s up from two percent of GOP voters prior to the California debate.
All other GOP candidates were below five percent in the combined support from GOP voters and swing-voters. Sen. Ted Cruz, Sen. Rand Paul, and Sen. Marco Rubio each had four percent.
However, Paul was the third-ranking scorer among independents, winning eight percent of swing-voters.
The poll suggests that swing-voters are already leaning Republican.
Only 28 percent of 218 independents in the poll declined to pick any Republican — and 52 of the remaining 72 percent went to non-establishment candidates, including Trump, Carson, Fiorina, Paul, and Cruz.
In contrast, 37 percent of swing-voters declined to pick a Democratic candidate.
Hillary Clinton led the Democratic pack with only 40 percent of Democratic votes, while Sen. Bernie Sanders had 30 percent support, and Vice President Joe Biden has 15 percent support.
Ominously for Democrats, 10 percent of Democrats — but only five percent of Republicans — declined to pick a candidate.
Follow Neil Munro on Twitter, @NeilMunroDC