A new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll has Donald Trump in second place, at 26 percent, to first-place Ted Cruz, at 28 percent. This is, as Philip Bump notes, “the first major poll in which Trump hasn’t led the field nationally since October.” That is another way of saying this poll is an outlier.
Which is not to say that it’s inaccurate. But also today comes a poll from Morning Consult, conducted over the same dates as the NBC/WSJ poll, showing Trump still leading the (national) field with an astonishing 41 percent support.
And maybe that poll is inaccurate. They’re not directly comparable, in terms of sampling and methodology: The Morning Consult poll was of 662 registered voter, while the NBC/WSJ was of 400 likely voters.
But until lots of other polls also look like this poll, it doesn’t really tell us anything.
(That won’t stop the press from seizing on this poll as “proof” that Trump’s support is collapsing, as a sort of half-conscious attempt to turn a compelling narrative into electoral reality, in much the same way that we continually hear of Marco Rubio’s “resurgence,” in stories that have surely helped keep his candidacy alive despite his various failures as a candidate. Nor will it stop Donald Trump from freaking out and responding with some crazy new attack line, crackpot policy proposal, or fresh angle on the white racial anxiety beat.)