Meet the Press

25 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Donald Trump questions poll showing Ben Ca….

GOP Frontrunner Donald Trump speaks to John Dickerson on Face the Nation about Iowa poll numbers, GOP competitors, and Congress’ upcoming debt ceiling vote.

WASHINGTON (AP) – Republican voters view Donald Trump as their strongest general election candidate, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll that highlights the sharp contrast between the party’s voters and its top professionals regarding the billionaire businessman’s ultimate political strength.Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on Sunday seemed chastened — to the extent the flamboyant businessman can be — by new polling that showed him losing to Ben Carson in Iowa, though he swiftly set aside his professed respect for the retired neurosurgeon and attacked him as “low energy” and “very, very weak” on immigration and trade negotiations.

Seven in 10 Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters say Trump could win in November 2016 if he is nominated, and that’s the most who say so of any candidate. By comparison, 6 in 10 say the same for retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who, like Trump, has tapped into the powerful wave of antiestablishment anger defining the early phases of the 2016 contest. “It’s the lifelong establishment politicians on both sides that rub me the wrong way,” said registered Republican Joe Selig, a 60-year-old carpenter from Vallejo, California. “I think Trump is more electable. We need strength these days.” Trump and Carson are considered among the least electable general election candidates by the Republican Party’s professionals, those who are in the business of helping candidates run campaigns and win elections. The GOP’s most conservative voters — a group that is older and whiter than the nation as a whole — wield extraordinary influence in picking the nominee.

Trump called Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals during his announcement speech; while Carson said he would not support a Muslim presidential candidate. “Republicans think (Democrat) Hillary (Rodham Clinton) is weaker than she is. Jeb Bush, the GOP establishment favorite whose campaign announced across-the-board salary cuts Friday despite its avowed fundraising prowess and political pedigree. They are wrong,” said GOP operative Katie Packer, who was deputy campaign manager for 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney. “They think we don’t need to win more women or more Hispanics to win.

Carson said Sunday he was a volatile person in his youth, and may be relaxed and soft-spoken now, but he plans to stay above the fray. “That’s not who I am. Jeb Bush, who has embraced a welcoming tone with Hispanics, tops the field of experienced political leaders on the question of electability, running about even with Carson and slightly behind Trump. Carson said. “I will tell you, in terms of energy, I’m not sure that there’s anybody else running who’s spent 18 or 20 hours intently operating on somebody.” Mr. Trump also leveled criticism at Democratic front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton in the wake of her 11-hour grilling before the House committee looking into the 2012 attacks on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, although he refused to dub her his “enemy.” He said he long predicted the destabilizing effect of the conflict, and that he is the best person to beat back the brutality of the Islamic State that has filled the vacuum in Iraq, which he called the “Harvard of terrorism.”

Carson and Trump are the candidates most likely to receive positive ratings from Republican voters, with 65 percent saying they have a favorable opinion of Carson and 58 percent saying the same of Trump. Republicans are somewhat less excited about Bush, with 48 percent giving him a favorable rating. “If he weren’t a Bush, I wouldn’t even know his name,” said Republican Leslie Millican, a 34-year-old housewife from Magnolia, Arkansas. “I like the other Bushes.

By an overwhelming 77 percent to 22 percent margin, Republican registered voters and leaners say they prefer an outsider candidate who will change how things are done, rather than someone with experience in Washington who can get things done. Perhaps that helps explain why Democrats prefer experience over outsider status, 67 percent to 32 percent, and experience in office over private sector experience 66 percent to 33 percent.

Republican strategist John Feehery says Trump is considered electable now only because he hasn’t yet been the subject of a multimillion dollar negative ad campaign, which will happen should he maintain his lead in the polls.

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