Donald Trump’s explosive rise in the polls has come at the expense of every other GOP presidential candidate except for Jeb Bush and Scott Walker — who arguably have been helped by the businessman’s rise.
The media storm surrounding Trump is starving other candidates of oxygen — including major contenders such as Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who has seen his polling numbers plummet 3.2 percentage points since Trump’s entry.
Bush, in contrast, has seen his support rise by 2.9 percentage points, while Walker gained 1.1 percentage points. Trump has risen by 14.6 percentage points since launching his campaign.
While such changes appear modest, they are significant in a field of 16 declared candidates and where only three (Trump, Bush and Walker) are in double-digits in the national averages.
The biggest absolute decline has been suffered by retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who has slid 3.4 percentage points, followed by Rubio, Huckabee (-2.6 points) and Paul (-2.5 points).
Some experts suggest that Bush’s support has been largely impervious to Trump’s advance because of the name recognition and financial resources that the former Florida governor enjoys.
Others suggest that there is solidity to the backing for Bush and Wisconsin Gov. Walker that other candidates do not enjoy.
“Jeb and Scott are the only two candidates — with the exception of Rand Paul, who has a libertarian base, but it’s very small — who I can definitively say have a base at this point,” said GOP strategist Ford O’Connell.