Polls starting to show Trump weakness

Recent history shows that predicting a decline in Donald Trump’s popularity is risky for pundits.  Nevertheless, there are some signs that his appeal may be wearing thin.  But keep in mind that many pundits (and probably pollsters) have an animus against Trump (and his followers), and polls can be manipulated in many ways.

Here are the straws in the wind:

The Boston Herald reports on New Hampshire:

In a major shake-up of the GOP pack in New Hampshire, front-runner Donald Trump has lost nearly half his support while two longshots — Ohio Gov. John Kasich and businesswoman Carly Fiorina — have surged into the top five, a new Franklin Pierce University/Boston Herald poll reveals.

Trump still leads the field with 18 percent, but the poll of likely Republican primary voters shows his numbers quickly dropping — especially among women — right after his tirade against Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly. And more than 4 in 10 GOP voters say he doesn’t have the “temperament” to be president.

The Franklin Pierce/Herald poll has former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush running in second place at 13 percent, while Kasich now stands at 12 percent, launching him into serious contention in the Granite State.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is in fourth at 10 percent, and Fiorina, who has spent most of the campaign at the bottom of the pack, follows right behind at 9 percent, according to the poll of 414 likely GOP primary voters conducted Aug. 7-10.

Trump has led most national and New Hampshire polls in the last few weeks despite igniting a series of firestorms that have engulfed his campaign, including questioning U.S. Sen. John McCain’s war hero status.

But his incendiary comments about Kelly appear to be taking a toll among Granite State Republicans and independents. In the four-day polling sample, Trump’s numbers dropped more than 10 points the night after the roiling controversy and never recovered.

Kelly has been getting a lot of hate from Trump supporters.  But her ratings (which is what she and Roger Ailes care about) have increased to the point where she is outdrawing FNC’s bigfoot, Bill O’Reilly.  Mediaite reports:

At the height of her feud with Donald Trump, Megyn Kelly’s The Kelly File was the #1 highest-rated show across all of cable news Monday night in both the 25-54 demo (568K) and total viewers (2.915M), topping Fox’s The O’Reilly Factor.

The expression "laughing all the way to the bank" comes to mind.

Nationally, Trump is also declining as others in the GOP field gain, according Rasmussen.  Andrew Malcolm of IBD summarizes:

Donald Trump has lost one-third of his national support since a lackluster debate performance last week and ensuing spats and pouts with Fox News.

And Carly Fiorina, whose one percent standing relegated her to the secondary Republican debate six days ago, experienced an explosion of support after an impressive national debut in that forum. She's now tied in the No. 3 spot among Republican candidates.

The only woman in the GOP field, Fiorina saw her support jump to nine percent, tied with Scott Walker, who fell from 14% in the late July Rasmussen Reports survey. The only ones ahead of her now are Jeb Bush, who held steady at 10% among the 651 likely Republican primary voters, and Marco Rubio, now also at 10%, up from his previous 5% support.

Trump still leads the field with 17%, but that's down sharply from his commanding 26% lead less than two weeks ago.

This is the point at which to remember that we are still 15 months away from the general election, and that flux in the polling is to be expected.  Recall for a moment the period in which Michele Bachmann and Herman Cain were leading the field.

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