Donald Trump tweets to UMass in response to new poll

Republican frontrunner Donald Trump calls climate change a “hoax.” (Gage Skidmore/FlickrCC/TNS)

Republican frontrunner Donald Trump calls climate change a “hoax.” (Gage Skidmore/FlickrCC/TNS)

By Kristin LaFratta

When a poll reads in his favor, Donald Trump takes notice. The leading Republican presidential candidate tweeted to UMass this evening to highlight the university’s poll results, which state that 31 percent of likely Republican primary voters listed Trump as their first choice, followed by Carson at 22 percent.

The UMass poll is based on a survey of 318 likely Republican primary voters across the country conducted by YouGov America from Nov. 5-13, directed by UMass Poll.

The survey found that if Carson or Trump dropped out of the race, the move would benefit the other. Thirty-six percent of Trump voters chose Carson as their backup candidate, while 30 percent of Carson voters listed Trump as their second choice.

Over half of the participants said they would not vote for Jeb Bush. This opposition is unheard of for any other top Republican candidate, according to Raymond La Raja, associate director of the poll and UMass associate professor of political science.

La Raja added that Trump had “flatlined,” and to move forward he would have to knock out Carson and Cruz. Still, the Republican primary voters surveyed believe that either Trump or Carson are best positioned to win the general election, a fact La Raja says is “fascinating” considering their lack of political experience and inability to gain support of political elites.

The poll results also suggest that Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders is struggling in the run against Hillary Clinton, who remained the top choice for 63 percent of likely Democratic primary voters while Sanders saw only 29 percent of top votes from the 381 likely Democratic primary voters surveyed.

The margin of error in this poll is 6.4 for Republican likely primary voters and 6.0 for Democratic likely primary voters.

Kristin LaFratta can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @kristinlafratta.