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.
Context is important, however. Candidates are entering the race much more slowly than they did four years ago, so nobody knows exactly what the field will look like. At the Huffington Post, Jason Linkins writes:
The 2012 election: wasn't it supposed to have started by now? If you are a normal person, living your normal life, you probably don't really care. 2012 is supposed to start in 2012, after all, and it's supposed to maybe end in a worldwide cataclysm anyway, so you're probably taking it easy. But we're almost all the way to April, and none of the people who promised to run for president are all that close to making a decision, and it's basically led to sadness and garment-rending among the people who thought they'd be covering it to death by now and happily ignoring things like the fact that you or someone you love doesn't have a job.