West Virginia marks the first state where we've found Donald Trump leading the GOP Presidential field- he gets 24% there, tying him at the top with Mike Huckabee. Sarah Palin is third with 13%, followed by Mitt Romney at 11%, Newt Gingrich at 9%, Tim Pawlenty at 4%, and Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul at 3%.
We polled the Republican race in West Virginia in January too. With Trump now in the picture Huckabee is down 4 points from his standing on that previous poll, Palin has dropped 10 points, and Gingrich has fallen 8 points. Romney is actually up a point- you have to wonder if a Trump candidacy could actually end up being a blessing in disguise for Romney.
The folks who Trump appeals to by and large just aren't going to be particularly open to voting for Romney- so if Trump's in the race and helping to fracture the far right vote among a number of different candidates that gives Romney more of an opening to win in places even where he doesn't do that well with conservative voters. West Virginia's not somewhere Romney's likely to win regardless of the field but when you see him staying steady while everyone else goes down because of Trump you see where it could be a plus for him in the long run.
Trump is riding the birther train to his lead in West Virginia. Only 22% of Republican voters there think Barack Obama was born in the country to 53% who think he was not and 26% who are unsure. With the voters who think Obama was born in the US Trump gets just 15%, putting him in third place behind Huckabee and Romney. But with the folks who think Obama was not Trump gets 30% putting him 8 points ahead of Huckabee and allowing him the overall tie.
Full results here