A substantial majority of Republicans want billionaire mogul Donald Trump to stay in the 2016 presidential race, according to a new CNN/ORC poll.
He’s the candidate GOP voters are most likely to say they want to see on the debate stage.
Meanwhile, in another poll released Sunday by NBC News,
Trump is leading in New Hampshire and second only to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker in Iowa.
Together, the polls indicate there is no sign that the Trump juggernaut is slowing down. Both polls are notable because they were the first taken after the flap last weekend when Trump seemed to disparage the service record of Sen. John McCain during a forum in Iowa.
"There is a movement going on. This is more than me," Trump said on CNN's "State of the Union," saying the poll results were not surprising. "People are tired of these incompetent politicians in Washington that can't get anything done."
Among Republicans in the CNN poll, Trump leads with 18 percent support, followed by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush with 15 percent. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has 10 percent support among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents who are registered to vote. The margin of error is 3.5 percentage points, CNN reported.
Trump's backing has climbed 6 points since a late June poll, while support for Bush and Walker has not changed significantly. None of the other 14 candidates earned double-digit support.
In fact, 22 percent in the poll say they believe Trump will be the party’s nominee to president. That finding makes him second only to Jeb Bush in the poll.
Overall, among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents:
- 52 percent say they want Trump to stay in the race.
- 33 percent say they hope he drops out.
- 15 percent say they want to see him make an independent run for the presidency.
Moreover, of those Republicans surveyed that want Trump to remain in the race, the numbers show that many seen as the core of the GOP primary electorate are included. CNN points out those numbers include:
- 58 percent of white evangelicals.
- 58 percent of conservatives.
- 57 percent of tea party supporters.
The billionaire real estate developer has sparked outrage from critics – including most of his GOP presidential rivals – on statements he has made about illegal immigrants and Republican Sen. John McCain's war hero status. But the CNN poll and others show his campaign method is popular with Republican and conservative-leaning voters.
Trump still has much work to do to build his base, CNN reports. A majority of Republican voters, 51 percent, still seem to be making up their minds, saying they see the field as wide open. Among that group that see the contest as wide open, Bush has 14 percent support, while Trump has the backing of 13 percent and Walker stands at 9 percent.
Trump will have more to worry about in the general election. When put up against Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton and upstart Senator Bernie Sanders, he loses by wide margins. Bush and Walker, by contrast, run just behind Clinton and about even with Sanders.
And Trump's unfavorability rating is sky high. Overall, 59 percent of all registered voters have an unfavorable opinion of Trump, though that dips to 42 percent among GOP voters.
"I don't think Mr. Trump is qualified to be commander-in-chief, I think he is bankrupt when it comes to all the qualities you need to lead the men and women in uniform and to lead a great nation," Sen. Lindsey Graham said on ABC's "This Week."
Perry, appearing on CNN, said Trump's candidacy "is not necessarily moving the cause of conservatism forward."
The poll is the first released since Trump discussed McCain's war record last weekend. It was conducted July 22-25 with 1,017 adults, including 898 registered voters. The margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points
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