Nationwide Poll Shows Trump, Carson & Fiorina in Top 3 GOP Spots

A Suffolk University/USA TODAY national poll of likely voters shows businessman Donald Trump as the choice of 23 percent of those expecting to vote in the GOP primaries, but his favorability was low at 27 percent. Meanwhile, 65 percent of voters oppose eliminating funding for Planned Parenthood.

Results of polling related to the Democratic presidential race will be released tomorrow, Thursday, Oct. 1.

Trump was followed in the poll by neurosurgeon Ben Carson and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina at 13 percent each; Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (9 percent) and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (8 percent); and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (6 percent). Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee had 2 percent each, and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie had 1 percent each. Eighteen percent of the Republican electorate were undecided.

“Despite topping the Republican ballot test, Trump’s overall favorability numbers should be of concern to his campaign,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston.

Trump’s favorability, at 27 percent, was the lowest of the 10 candidates polled, and 61 percent of voters say they disapprove of him.

“Trump is the Jekyll and Hyde candidate—strong when among conservative voters but viewed much differently once Democrats and independents are in the mix,” said Paleologos.

When asked what one word best describes Trump, respondents were unequivocally negative about the business mogul, offering:

  • “Idiot/jerk/stupid/dumb”—10 percent
  • “Arrogant” and “crazy/nuts”— 6 percent each
  • “Buffoon/clown/comical/joke”—5 percent
  • General unfavorable or dislike —4 percent


Though the reaction to businesswoman Fiorina was slightly more positive—10 percent of respondents called her “smart/intelligent/knowledgeable” and 5 percent called her “strong/tough,” she joined Trump in eliciting some negative perceptions, with 6 percent using the word “liar/untrustworthy” to describe her.

In a week when President Barack Obama discussed technology and cyber-hacking issues with Chinese President Xi Jinping and traded barbs with Russian President Vladimir Putin over the crisis in Syria, 47 percent of voters said they approve of Obama’s performance, up from the 44 percent in July.

Carson recently said that he "would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation," yet 49 percent of voters said they would vote for a qualified Muslim for president, compared to 40 percent who said they would not. However, 53 percent of voters said that they do not believe a Muslim could be elected president.


The nationwide survey of 1,000 voters likely to cast ballots in the 2016 presidential election was conducted Sept. 24-28 using live telephone interviews of households where respondents indicated they were very or somewhat likely to vote. The margin of error is +/-3 percentage points at a 95 percent level of confidence. The margin of error for the Republican primary subset of 380 voters is +/-5.03 percentage points. Marginals and full cross-tabulation data are being posted incrementally through Thursday, Oct. 1, on the Suffolk University Political Research Center website. For more information, contact David Paleologos at 781-290-9310,