Trump Raises Eyebrows as He Rises in Presidential Polls
Donald Trump is famous for being brash, rich and opinionated. And at this stage in 2012 presidential jockeying, all that has put him in the theoretical running for the Republican nomination.
“I never really considered very strongly running for the presidency,” Trump said. “But the country has never been in trouble like it is now.”
Trump says he'll decide by June and he conferred this week with GOP chairman Reince Priebus on the details of the presidential season.
He has also secured a comfortable spot in the early polling. In a recent Wall Street Journal poll, Trump tied for second with Mike Huckabee at 17 percent, just behind Mitt Romney at 21 percent.
And in a Fox News poll, Trump was also four points back and in fourth place, behind Huckabee, Romney and Sarah Palin.
But some say his early standing is based on his name recognition and tough demeanor.
“They've seen him on television, they see him as brash, outspoken, declarative, in charge, he makes decisions,” former White House insider and Fox News contributor Karl Rove said.
But he suggests Trump’s name recognition doesn’t come from his political positions, but from his business empire, or his television show on NBC, "The Apprentice."
“He's a celebrity though,” Rove said. “We know that not necessarily from him making big decisions about big important issues, but him making decisions about who is on or who's off 'The Apprentice.'”
He's also drawn a lot of attention for touching a raw nerve with some voters, questioning where President Obama was born.
“People have birth certificates. He doesn't have a birth certificate,” Trump said in an appearance on "The O’Reilly Factor."
That view endeared him to one segment of voters. A recent Fox News poll shows 24 percent of registered voters share his skepticism.
But even Trump acknowledges that's not a platform to run on. And he has started to clean up some previous stances that might have hurt him in a potential GOP presidential bid.
“I used to not be pro-life,” Trump said. “I have become pro-life.”
And that’s a change Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council says Trump needed to make.
“That gets him to a point where I think people at least take another look at him. Will they ultimately support him based upon his past and his personal life? I can’t answer that,” Perkins said.
But as the campaign wears on, Rove says voters want to see a candidate in person and get to know them They have to eat corn in Iowa, go to a pancake breakfast in New Hampshire, and visit Republican women's clubs in South Carolina.
The question is whether Trump is ready to do what it takes to actually get elected.