TRUMPED – AT 10:04 A.M. ET: In a head-to-head matchup, Donald Trump doesn't do very well against Barack Obama, but Obama doesn't do all that well himself. From Scott Rasmussen:
President Obama leads Donald Trump by 15 percentage points in a hypothetical 2012 match-up, but the president is unable to top the 50% level of support even against an opponent some are deriding as a joke.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that the president earns support from 49% of Likely Voters nationwide, while Trump attracts the vote from 34%. Given that choice, 12% would vote for some other candidate, and five percent (5%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
Only 65% of Republican voters would vote for Trump over Obama. Among voters not affiliated with either major party, 48% prefer Obama, 25% Trump, and 20% would opt for some other candidate.
Regardless of what Republican is matched against the president, Obama earns between 42% and 49% support. Trump doesn't run as well against the president as the top tier of GOP candidates, but he does pick up more support than insider favorites Mitch Daniels and Jon Huntsman and entrepreneur Herman Cain.
COMMENT: Trump is a celebrity candidate. He can't beat Obama any more than Ross Perot could win in 1992, running against President George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. (But Perot probably did cost Bush the election.) I don't think Trump could get the Republican nomination. He could be a factor, and a dangerous one, only if he runs as an independent, taking votes away from the GOP.
At the same time, Obama can't break 50%, not exactly a vote of confidence in a president. If Republicans concentrate on nominating an effective candidate, they can win this thing. If they nominate the next guy in line, or someone who's borderline certifiable, an opportunity can fade away.
April 18, 2011