Donald Trump would hold a healthy early lead over the Republican field in the 2012 presidential race if he were to throw his hat into the ring. That’s the finding of a new survey of likely GOP primary voters conducted by Public Policy Polling.
Trump has the support of 26 percent of likely Republican primary voters, outpacing the field by just short of double digits. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee was second in the PPP survey with 17 percent. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was third at 15 percent.
“Who knows if he’s really going to end up running or not, but Donald Trump is certainly getting a lot of traction with Republican primary voters,” said Dean Debnam, president of Public Policy Polling. “A lot of GOP voters have not been happy with their choice of candidates, and Trump is filling that void, at least for the moment.”
Trump has been making waves of late by playing to the birther wing of the GOP primary electorate – raising issue with President Barack Obama’s citizenship status. The PPP polling has 23 percent of Republican primary voters saying that they will vote only for a candidate who believes that the president was not born in the United States. Trump leads among that subset of the GOP electorate with 37 percent support to 13 percent for Huckabee and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and 10 percent for Romney and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.