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Mr. Trump Goes to Washington?

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Donald-TrumpIt's difficult not be fascinated by the "candidacy" of Donald Trump. He's managed to keep his names in the headlines for weeks--propelled a great deal by joining the absurd birther bandwagon--along with the whole "will he or won't he?" speculation surrounding him.

But is there real meat to his candidacy or is it all just a big sideshow distracting us from real issues? For a brief moment, Trump was scoring quite well in Republican straw polls. That moment seems to have passed.

Last month we found him leading the Republican field with 26%. In the space of just four weeks he's dropped all the way down to 8%, putting him in a tie for fifth place with Ron Paul.

Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney are at the top of the GOP race with 19% and 18% respectively. Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin are further back at 13% and 12%, followed by Trump and Paul at 8%, Michele Bachmann at 7%, and Tim Pawlenty at 5%.

But judging by the names in the field, there could be more twists and turns to come.

Aside from his attractiveness to voters, I've always been curious about the perception of Trump within the commercial real estate industry. He's become a brand name and is arguably the most well-known person from the industry in the country thanks to his tabloid-worthy personal life and his beyond gaudy successes and failures dotting the industry landscape.

But in my time covering commercial real estate, Trump is largely a non-story. I don't hear many people talk about him nor look at him as some kind of model. Within the industry, the people that are admired--and that have experienced success and wealth well beyond Trump--are folks like Sam Zell, the Simons, Steve Roth, Stephen Ross, and many others. Trump is an entertainer. Those other guys are businessmen.

As it turns out investors at large don't have a positive view of Trump.

By 68 percent to 14 percent, the billionaire is viewed unfavorably by respondents in a Bloomberg Global Poll of investors, analysts and traders. In the U.S., where Trump is more widely known, his unfavorable rating climbs to 79 percent, while those viewing him favorably rises to 17 percent.

“The last thing this country needs is an uber-political, self-serving, egomaniacal media junkie whose all-sizzle-no-steak approach to life and politics only distracts us all from the real issues and problems of our country,” said poll respondent Douglas Schoninger, 50, president of DJS Capital Management Inc. in New York.

So, as pros in commercial real estate, what do you think of Citizen Trump?

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Elaine Misonzhnik

Senior associate editor Elaine Misonzhnik has been writing for National Real Estate Investor since June 2006 and has covered commercial real estate for more than 12 years. She first became...
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