A Fox News poll published Sunday found the anti-establishment candidates surging in the 2016 presidential race.
Unsurprisingly, real-estate tycoon Donald Trump continues to lead the Republican side with 25% support among registered voters.
But other unorthodox candidates are also rising to the top, possibly due to their strong performances in the first Republican primary debate on August 6.
Ben Carson, a retired neurosurgeon and political neophyte, placed second in the Fox News survey. Carson received 12% of the vote compared to 7% when the pollster last surveyed the race at the start of August.
Running third in the poll was Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) with 10%, a four-point rise from the previous survey. Cruz, a conservative firebrand who entered the Senate in 2013, has used his short time in the chamber to infuriate the Republican establishment.
It’s not until the No. 4 position that a conventional candidate with sizable establishment support appears in the survey: former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R). Bush scored at 9% in the poll, a 6-point decline since the previous survey.
After him was former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R), whose 6% held steady over the previous weeks, and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R), who like Bush has seen his support decline; Walker was at 9% but is now tied with Huckabee at 6%. Also like Bush, Walker was often labelled as one of the clear front-runners in the contest.
Of course, it’s still early and many veteran operatives urge the public to view these sorts of polls skeptically until much closer to the start of next year, when the first primary states weigh in.
“The enthusiasm right now is clearly on the side of the insurgents,” said Matt Strawn, a former chair of the Iowa Republican Party, told Politico about recent polls in the Hawkeye State.
“But the race is just beginning in earnest. It’s one thing to poll high in August, but whether those candidates can withstand the long campaign is still an open question.”
Strawn suggested that some voters may be having a “summer fling” with candidates they won’t ultimately support.
“It’s an open issue whether Donald Trump can take the energy and enthusiasm and turn those political voyeurs that are showing up at his events into people who will actually caucus,” he said.
“It’s one thing to have a summer fling with a candidate; it’s another to find someone you’re willing to stand up [for] in your schoolhouse in front of your friends and neighbours in February and say, ‘This is the person I think should be leader of the free world.'”
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