It must kinda suck to be Mitt Romney today. I mean, you go ahead take the first preliminary steps for running for president by announcing you're running for president. You kick off with a speech that includes lotsa de rigeur trash talk
April 12, 2011

It must kinda suck to be Mitt Romney today.

I mean, you go ahead take the first preliminary steps for running for president by announcing you're running for president. You kick off with a speech that includes lotsa de rigeur trash talk directed at President Obama, and vow that he will be a one-term president. It's supposed to be your big day, right?

And then CNN comes out with a poll showing you in fourth place -- trailing far behind a hairpiece, a preacher, and the Shrilla From Wasilla:

Donald Trump is now tied with Mike Huckabee for first place when Republicans are asked who they support for the GOP presidential nomination in 2012, according to a new national poll.

But while a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Tuesday indicates that the real estate mogul and reality TV star has nearly doubled his support since mid-March, it doesn't mean he has smooth sailing ahead.

"More than four in ten Republicans say they would not like to see Trump toss his hat in the ring," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

Nineteen percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents questioned in the poll say that as of now, they'd be most likely to support Trump for next year's GOP presidential nomination. Trump says he'll decide by June whether he runs for the White House. An equal amount say they'd back Huckabee. The former Arkansas governor and 2008 Republican presidential candidate says he'll decide by later this year if he'll make another bid for the White House.

Twelve percent say they'd support former Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, who was the party's 2008 vice presidential nominee, with 11 percent backing former Massachusetts Gov. and 2008 White House hopeful Mitt Romney and the same amount supporting former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Seven percent say they are backing Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, another 2008 presidential candidate, with five percent supporting Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, who enjoys strong backing from many in the Tea Party movement. Everyone else registers in the low single digits.

The funniest part of this is seeing Trump rise steadily in the polls even as he sinks ever deeper into Birtherism. You'd think this would just make the other Republican candidates look sane and intelligent by comparison, but apparently in the Planet Bizarro Universe that is "reality" for Republican voters, it works just the other way around!

Mark Blumenthal points out that Trump's numbers are pretty ephemeral, though -- especially when you start getting into the general public, which largely finds Donald Trump a despicable and repellent creature: 47 percent of the adults in Gallup's polling have a highly unfavorable view of Trump, compared to only 43 percent who view him positively.

As Blumenthal explains:

So while Trump begins with a level of visibility and name recognition that many of the other Republicans lack, he also retains significant negatives that will likely limit his appeal in the all-important early primaries.

Gallup has tracked Trump's favorable rating four times in the last ten years, and as they report, "Trump's public image is roughly the same now as it was in September 1999," just before he formed a committee to explore running for president as a Reform Party candidate.

But it's clear where the impetus for this is coming from: the Tea Partiers of the Republican base -- who, not so coincidentally, have an extremely high rate of Birtherism. Per Blumenthal:

That shift is likely spurred by Tea Party Republicans. The NBC/Wall Street Journal poll found that Trump does better among Tea Party supporters than among other Republicans, winning slightly more support (20 percent) than Romney (17 percent), Huckabee (14 percent), Palin (12 percent) or Gingrich (9 percent).

It only makes sense, after all: Trump embodies all the Tea Partiers' right-wing populist myths about Producers. He may also come to embody the Tea Partiers' limited influence on the upcoming GOP primary.

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