Donald Trump in the Polls: True Popularity or Media Magic?

If previously Hillary Rodham Clinton was the leading Democrat candidate while the Republicans were still confused in the polls, the entrance of Donald Trump into the presidential hopefuls’ race seems to be changing a few things. He seems to be emerging as the favorite of the Red population, and just in time for the first Republican primary debates in August.

The most polite word that can be used to describe Trump’s campaigning style is “unconventional.” Political correctness has no place in his speeches, despite the fact that he is running for the highest Executive position. However, the hype can be blinding. Donald Trump has a lot of media coverage because he knows how to draw it. But at the end of the day, does it change anything in the presidential race?


Leader of the Polls

In the latest nationwide poll conducted by ABC News in conjunction with the Washington Post, Donald Trump is leading the Republican race when it comes to favorite candidates. Although he is just shy of one-fourth of the Republican and Red-leaning independent populations at 24%, Trump has no other close contender, since Scott Walker is behind by 11 percentage points at 13%, followed closely by Jeb Bush at 12%.

Part of what may have given him this lead is that, of the Republicans polled who see immigration as one of the US’ economic burdens, 38% said that Donald Trump would be the best presidential candidate. Since a stance tending against immigration is a traditionally Red perspective, this might yet continue to tip the polls in Trump’s favor.

True Hype?

A review by FiveThirtyEight of Trump’s popularity on Trump’s chances of winning the Republican nomination, media coverage, and public interest in him suggests that it might be the latter. However, they openly admit, media coverage may likely have an effect on Trump’s popularity through the sheer amount of news attention that he is getting.

Citing Google News, FiveThirtyEight notes that Trump has the most overall media coverage of the Republican presidential hopefuls, cornering 46% of the Google News hits. It composes nearly half of the gross coverage, and no one else even comes close. Bush follows at 13% of the media coverage, Chris Christie at 9%, and it just goes down from there.


At the same time, Trump has garnered the most public interest, according to their citation of Google Search hits. A full 62% of the Google Searches are on Donald Trump, and his lead here is wider than with Google News, since Bush, second in line, follows with only 9%, and Walker follows him with 5%.

However, according to Betfair, Trump has only a 5% chance of winning the presidential nomination, and the leader is Bush at 39%, followed by Marco Rubio at 18%, and Walker at 16%. Although Trump is a media favorite, according to this analysis, it does not necessarily put him at the forefront for nomination as Republican Candidate.

Donald Trump: A Game-changer?

It depends on which game you are looking at. In terms of policies, he has beat practically every other Republican candidate to the gate when it comes to laying out a plan of action for illegal immigration. While immigration remains a sensitive issue, especially in the swing states, it can no longer stay on the back-burner. Trump leaves the polite language to the current Republican line-up, and stints no words in his statements on keeping illegal immigrants out of the United States.

Donald Trump Election 2016

However, both FiveThirtyEight and the Guardian suggest that the current hype is spurred on by the surprise of his declaration to pursue the presidency, and his ongoing controversial speeches. As the Republican candidates gear up for the first primary debates, this truer test of Trump’s policies and plans as presidential hopeful will help voters to refine their perspectives.

About the author

Esther has a B.A. in Humanities and an M.A. in Political Economy. When she’s not writing, she enjoys playing Sequence with her family, training in Aikido, and curling up with coffee and a good book.