Donald Trump's dominance in the polls shows no sign of abating despite the controversy that has raged for days over his comments about Fox News moderator Megyn Kelly and her treatment of him during the first GOP debate last week.
According to a poll by Morning Consult
conducted Aug. 7 to 9 of 2,029 registered voters, Trump leads his nearest rival by nearly 3-1 with 32 percent support. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush in the No. 2 spot has just 11 percent support.
Every other GOP contender clocks in with less than 10 percent support:
- Retired pediatric neurosurgeon Ben Carson is in third place at 9 percent;
- Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio are tied for fourth place with 6 percent;
- Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is at 4 percent, a decrease from 7 percent the previous week.
What's more, the controversy appears to have boosted Trump, giving him a 7-point increase in support since the previous survey.
The share of Republican primary voters who say they view Trump favorably also increased since from 57 percent to 62 percent, though he continues to have a 52 percent unfavorable rating.
"That makes Trump both the most popular candidate within the Republican field and the least popular candidate Republicans could nominate for next year's general election," Morning Consult said in a statement.
During Thursday's debate, Kelly questioned Trump about his history of calling women derogatory names.
Within hours after the debate, Trump took to Twitter to bash Kelly
, insisting that she had "bombed" and that the network's handling of him had been "unprofessional."
On Friday night, Trump told CNN
that "you could see there was blood coming out of her eyes. Blood coming out of her wherever," leading critics to say Trump was referring to Kelly's menstrual cycle.
Trump took to the Sunday talk shows and doubled-down on his criticism that he had been treated unfairly by Kelly but clarified that his comments had nothing to do with implying Kelly was hormonal
. He said he was going to finish his sentence with "from her nose," but ended up moving on to other subjects.
Early on Monday morning, Trump turned away a question by MSNBC's "Morning Joe"
over whether he'd talked to anybody at Fox News about finding common cause, but insisted that he doesn't think the network treats him well.
"I'm not going to embarrass anybody," Trump told MSNBC. "My whole life has been led on the theory that I do not want to embarrass people."
Trump had said he doesn't understand why he wasn't treated well by Fox, but reiterated that he's at the top of the polls and suggested he should just leave matters the way they were.
By mid-morning on Monday, Trump released a Tweet saying that Fox News chief Roger Ailes had contacted him
to help put the controversy to rest.
The positive news for Trump from the Morning Consult poll appears to confirm findings from an NBC/Survey Monkey poll taken Friday night through Saturday that also found that Trump’s ratings have not experienced collateral damage from the scrum with Kelly.
Specifically, Trump maintained his first place position
with 23 percent support, an increase of 1 point from the poll’s results from the week before.
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