An Internet poll sponsored by Newsmax.com reveals that Americans overwhelmingly favor Donald Trump as their preferred candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012.
Online participants in the poll, which has drawn more than 550,000 responses, also support Trump by a wide margin in a head-to-head matchup with President Barack Obama.
If the election were held today, Trump would beat Obama in a landslide, 68 to 13 percent. But that lead is just as sizeable when Trump faces off against the best and the brightest in the oft-mentioned field of GOP contenders for 2012.
Trump takes 57 percent of the vote in a field including Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty. His closest competitor, according to the poll, is former Massachusetts Gov. Romney with 9 percent of the vote. (See full poll results below — and you can still vote in the Trump poll — Click Here Now.)
The Newsmax online survey, a non-scientific poll, comes as Obama advisers launched their own attacks last weekend on Trump, who has surged in several polls over the last several weeks as he's questioned the president's resistance to making his birth certificate and other accompanying details public.
The president has released a "certificate of live birth," a shorter document that carries the same legal weight as a birth certificate in Hawaii. But Obama has not released his so-called “longform” birth certificate, and this has been the source of many conspiracy theories.
Appearing Sunday on ABC's This Week with Christiane Amanpour, White House adviser David Plouffe said "a small part of the country" may believe conspiracy theories about Obama's birth, but "mainstream Americans think it's a sideshow."
Plouffe suggested Trump may be a bigger problem for Republican primary candidates.
"I think I saw Donald Trump kind of rising in some polls, and given his behavior and spectacle the last couple of weeks, I hope he keeps on rising because there is zero chance that Donald Trump would ever be hired by the American people to do this job," Plouffe said.
Trump fired back on Monday: "Obviously, I hit a nerve because they're fighting me," he said on "Fox and Friends."
He added: "I can tell you I'm their worst nightmare. I am not the person they want to run against. They know it, and I know it. I know it for a fact because I have a lot of people that frankly are contributors to him and they tell me, 'Donald, you are not the person they want to run against.'"
The real estate tycoon has said he is seriously considering running for president next year. Already, he has even garnered some praise from some of his nominal challengers in the presidential race.
Former Alaska Gov. Palin praised Trump's push on the issue of Obama's birth certificate, especially his effort to hire private investigators to go to Hawaii and get to the bottom of the president's obfuscations.
On the “Judge Jeanine” show on Fox News, Palin said, "I appreciate that the Donald wants to spend his resources on something that so interests him and so many Americans, you know more power to him.”
"I think that he was born in Hawaii,” Palin told Judge Jeanine, “because there was the birth announcement put in the newspaper. But obviously there is something there that the president doesn't want people to see on that birth certificate, that he sees going to great lengths to make sure it isn't shown. And that's perplexing for a lot of people."
And Mayor Michael Bloomberg said a presidential run by Trump would be good for the country — particularly, the media.
"I've always said the public benefits from more choice. If Donald Trump wants to run, he should run," Bloomberg told reporters at an unrelated press conference Monday afternoon.
Bloomberg also noted that a run by the charismatic, totally aboveboard billionaire could have big benefits for the press.
"I think that would be very good for the Fourth Estate," Bloomberg jokingly added. "You'd certainly have lots of things to write about. He'd advertise a lot so you'd be able to sell him some space and that would pay your salaries."
The poll is not scientific. But Newsmax will provide the results to major media outlets. Newsmax reports have been cited on media outlets such as CNN, ABC News, Fox News, CBS, and MSNBC, as well as other major networks.
Following are the poll questions and results. Percentages do not total 100 because of rounding:
1) Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of Donald Trump?
Favorable: 77 percent
Unfavorable: 22 percent
2) If the 2012 election were held today, who would you vote for?
Barack Obama: 13 percent
Donald Trump: 68 percent
Other: 17 percent
3) In a Republican primary, who would be your candidate for the nomination for president?
4) Is Trump right in demanding that Pres. Obama release his birth certificate?
- Donald Trump: 57 percent
- Tim Pawlenty: 3 percent
- Mitt Romney: 9 percent
- Mike Huckabee: 8 percent
- Sarah Palin: 6 percent
- Mitch Daniels: 1 percent
- Haley Barbour: 0 percent
- Newt Gingrich: 6 percent
- Bobby Jindal: 2 percent
- Michele Bachmann: 4 percent
Trump is right: 82 percent
Trump is wrong: 17 percent
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