A majority of Republican-leaning voters now believe Donald Trump will be the GOP presidential nominee, according to a new ABC News/Washington Post poll
And increasing numbers of Americans — as well as Trump himself — believe it's inevitable the billionaire developer and Republican front-runner will win the nomination, Politico
When asked who will be the likeliest GOP nominee, those polled said:
- Donald Trump: 64 percent
- Sen. Ted Cruz: 12 percent
- Sen. Marco Rubio: 5 percent
In addition, the poll found that Trump's support continues to spring from "anti-establishment and anti-immigrant sentiment within the GOP, buttressed by economic discontent and by a broad sense among the rank and file that he'd be the party's most electable pick."
Among those results:
- His backing soars to 53 percent among leaning Republicans who strongly feel immigrants weaken U.S. society, vs. 24 percent among those who think immigrants strengthen this country. The former view is far more prevalent within the GOP.
- Leaning Republicans by 54-42 percent chiefly want a candidate from outside the political establishment. Among those who are in the anti-establishment group, and registered to vote, 51 percent pick Trump over his 10 rivals tested in this poll.
- Among those very worried about their economic prospects (27 percent of registered leaning Republicans), Trump gets 45 percent support, vs. 28 percent among those who aren't worried.
- Some 51 percent think Trump is the best choice to bring needed change to Washington, perhaps the single most crucial attribute to leaned Republicans – 83 percent of whom express dissatisfaction or even anger with the way things are working in the capital.
- 56 percent of leaning Republicans think Trump has the best chance to win the general election in November, up 9 points from last month.
The support that continues to rise for Trump shows a "sense of inevitability" he will be the Republican nominee, Politico says. And Trump himself realizes it.
He took a "victory lap, of sorts, on the morning show circuit on Tuesday, crowing about his dominant poll position, especially among evangelicals," Politico reported.
"I'm a religious person. I've been going to Sunday school for a long time like you did, Joe, and you know, I am a religious person," Trump told Joe Scarborough on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."
"And frankly, I'm a believer and they understand that. Some of the polls came out, and was interesting, CNN said I'd be the best leader, I'll be best with ISIS, I'll be best on the border by far, I'll be best on a lot of things, and the evangelicals want that."
But Trump — while confident — is not stopping his punishing assaults on Cruz and the question surrounding his eligibility to be president having been born in Canada.
Particularly with both candidates being essentially tied for first place in the upcoming Iowa caucuses.
"Well he does have a problem there. There's no question about it. Nobody knows if he can even run," Trump said on "Morning Joe" Tuesday.
"He has to solve that problem, get a declaratory judgment from the courts. I mean, he could be running and end up being thrown out of the race in the middle of it. … if he got a nomination, there'd be a lawsuit day one" from Democrats.
The ABC News/Washington Post poll, conducted from Jan. 21-24, has a margin of sampling error of 5.5 points.
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