According to a Pew Research survey, Donald Trump has been the presidential candidate that Americans and Republicans have heard about the most. Obviously, the wall to wall coverage of anything related to Trump certainly has upped his name recognition as a presidential candidate even though most Americans probably knew who he was to begin with. This, in part, probably explains his successful poll numbers. it’s like a self-perpetuating cycle.
Of more importance in the poll, though, is that only 20% of the public has even followed the presidential contest closely.
As I wrote about in the past, Trump may be leading in the polls because people are receptive to his outsider, populist message even if it does not square with his stances in the past.
With only 20% of the public even paying attention, what would happen if another candidate got a megaphone or mainstream media coverage like Trump? Could such a candidate get some of the people who currently tell pollsters they favor Trump?
I think one candidate who can is Herman Cain. Among the candidates testing the waters for a presidential run, Cain has gotten the least amount of mainstream media attention and probably has overperformed vis a vis the amount of free media he has received than any other candidate. With a bigger megaphone, Cain’s national numbers may tick up.
In fact, Cain won another under the radar straw poll in Georgia yesterday.
Here’s the summary of the results from Pew:
Donald Trump has drawn a lot of attention in a slow-starting race for the GOP nomination. Roughly a quarter of all Americans (26%) name Trump as the possible Republican presidential candidate they have heard most about lately, far more than volunteer any other candidate. Among Republicans, 39% name Trump as most visible – more than all other possible GOP candidates combined.
To be sure, Trump is standing out in a contest that has yet to draw much public interest or media coverage. In fact, about half of all Americans (53%) could not name anyone when asked which GOP candidate they have been hearing the most about.
Overall, just 20% of the public say they followed possible candidates for the 2012 presidential elections very closely last week and just 4% named it as their most closely followed story. The disaster in Japan was once again the most closely followed story (at 26%), according to Pew Research’s News Interest Index. The survey was conducted April 14-17 among 1,015 adults.