As odd as it might sound, businessman and reality show star Donald Trump could be a real contender for the Republican nomination for a 2012 presidential bid. Although many thought his announcement that he might run for president was somewhat of a publicity stunt (his show, “The Apprentice,” was about to debut for its 11th season), he seems to have risen in estimation as a viable candidate in the past few weeks, as a recent poll in New Hampshire bears witness.
A Public Policy Polling survey issued on April 5 indicates New Hampshire Republican voters are in favor of a Mitt Romney nomination. According to the poll, the former governor of Massachusetts more than doubles the second place favorite, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (Romney, 31 percent; Huckabee, 15 percent). However, that is without Donald Trump in the mix. But if one adds the outspoken New Yorker to the lineup of Republican candidates that include Huckabee, Romney, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, Texas representative Ron Paul, and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, Trump narrows Romney’s double-digit lead to a mere six points (Romney, 27 percent; Trump, 21 percent).
Although Trump has taken a media beating for his open championing of the conspiracy theory that questions whether or not President Barack Obama was actually born in the United States (called the “birther movement”), Romney has also been the target of those who find similarities with the health care program started in Massachusetts while he was governor and the current unpopular health care reform legislation enacted last year by the Obama administration. In fact, analysts at Public Policy Polling do not believe Romney’s downward arc in favorability has reached its lowest point, which could make the numbers between himself and Trump even tighter and a lot more interesting should Trump actually decide to run for president.
Besides, instead of playing politically correct word games with reporters, Trump embraced the idea that, if Obama was born in the United States, he should have no problem presenting actual documented proof. Trump is also supported by a majority of Republicans who also believe the President was born somewhere other than in the U.S.
But if one were to think that Trump’s high marks in New Hampshire might simply be a result of that state’s tendency to be somewhat more eclectic when it comes to choosing their presidential candidates, it should be noted that a national poll released by NBC News/Wall Street Journal a couple days after the Public Policy Polling survey also showed Trump second (tied with Huckabee) to Romney — and only by 4 percentage points (17 percent to 21 percent, respectively). If one factors in the tea party element of the Republican Party, Trump actually leads, 20 percent to 17 percent.
If Trump were to decide to run, it could make for a very interesting 2012 Republican primary race.