First, let’s get Donald Trump‘s spectacular media rating position out on the table. There’s no question he’s pulling strong ratings. His current topline rating is up+1 point at an extreme rating position of 90, ranking him #2 behind media frontrunner Hillary Clinton at 94. His momentum is still strong at +29% this month and he’s up +22% over the same period in 2014 when he first suggested he’d make a run for the GOP.
Trumps’ media value numbers are equally impressive. This month he generated $44M in media value, taking his cumulative 12-month tally to $183M. Both numbers are well below Hillary Clinton’s media values, but among his GOP rivals, he’s doing quite well.
And since the 2016 election is a contest, rank position is critical and Trump has leapt past most of his chief GOP rivals since June.
But here’s where things get interesting.
I’ll avoid commenting on the chances of Trump taking the GOP nomination as the trove of political analysts are shaping that argument. I did want to remind media observers that Donald Trump’s media ramp-up is a mirror image of Herman Cain’s 2011/2012 numbers. Actually, Herman Cain was doing a little better than The Donald at this point in 2011.
Here’s the Herman Cain media picture … and the roller coaster fall that whisked the candidate into obscurity when the race moved beyond the Florida primary (which Cain won in the straw poll).
There’s no amazing media revelation here except that a 90+ rating can erode just as fast as it was built — and even faster in a primary setting where losses mean exclusion from any future media spotlight. The presidential election is a combination of sprint intervals and a really grueling marathon. Like Herman Cain and his 9-9-9 tax plan, Donald Trump has caught the media’s attention with something new and different. How long that can sustain a candidate across the primary season is the big question.
If the GOP race becomes a national media slugfest, then Trump is a dangerous candidate for his fellow GOP competitors. But if the 2016 primary looks like just about every other primary and the ensuing state-by-state, county-by-county battle for votes, then he may follow Herman Cain’s profile into media oblivion. Not that Trump needs the media attention. Even without the presidential election Donald Trump was still pulling impressive rating numbers as a business tycoon and TV personality.