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No. The poll results show that if you give people a choice more than 20 months before Election Day, they will make one. It also shows that some Americans so disapprove of Obama that they will even tell callers that they would vote for Trump rather than Obama.
The Newsweek/Daily Beast survey is a perfect example of why some people and organizations shouldn’t conduct polls.
The poll doesn’t measure how Trump would really do against Obama because people aren’t giving serious attention to the 2012 presidential race and their responses say little or nothing about what they will really do in 2012, after they learn about Trump and after they’ve spent time considering their options.
CNN tested Trump in late March and found him drawing just 10 percent in a multicandidate hypothetical primary ballot test.
Of course, even the CNN survey provides a distorted view of Trump’s potential in a GOP contest. That’s because the Republican nomination isn’t decided by a national primary but, rather, in a series of state contests, starting with Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina.
Is Trump really going to spend months at diners and in people’s living rooms in Iowa and New Hampshire? Will evangelical voters, who made up a majority of participants in the 2008 Iowa caucuses and South Carolina primary, really find a thrice-married celebrity who owns casinos and has never held public office an appealing choice for their party’s nomination?
Again, the answer is obvious.
Everyone who follows politics understands that, as Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander (R) put it, Trump “has absolutely no chance of winning.” And the Senator is also right that the Trump buzz “says more about the media” than about Trump’s political prospects.
For too many in the media, entertainment is more important than information, and while Trump or Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) or Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) aren’t serious presidential contenders or political heavyweights on Capitol Hill, they are good for a giggle or a laugh.
Treating Trump as a serious presidential hopeful may draw a chuckle, but it also trivializes the race and wastes the time of someone better covered in the style section than in the news section. And if you are looking for entertainment, Charlie Sheen is a lot better topic than Donald Trump.
Stuart Rothenberg is editor of the Rothenberg Political Report.