A new national poll from Monmouth University finds Donald Trump opening up a massive lead for the Republican nomination.
The poll of 385 Republican supporters or leaners was taken days after Trump proposed a temporary bar on Muslim immigrants into the United States, and shows Trump with 41 percent support nationwide. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is a very distant second, with 14 percent support.
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is third, with 10 percent, while neurosurgeon Ben Carson is fourth, with 9 percent support.
Carson has dropped 9 points since a previous Monmouth poll in October. Cruz and Rubio each gained 4 points, while Trump’s support increased by almost a half, up 13 points from 28 percent. That scores give him a “commanding national lead” among GOP-leaning adults, said the Monmouth University statement.
However, that lead won’t matter if Trump can’t get his supporters to register and vote in the various state primaries and caucuses, starting Feb. 1 in Iowa.
Outside of the top four, no other candidate receives more than 3 percent, which is below the poll’s 5 percent margin of error. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has just 3 percent support. In July, Bush led the GOP field with 15 percent support. In other words, four-fifths of Jeb’s support has evaporated.
Jeb Bush also has the highest unfavorable rating of any Republican candidate. Almost half of Republicans, 47 percent, have a negative opinion of the younger Bush. Just 34 percent have a positive opinion of the former Governor.
Unsurprisingly, national security and terrorism have catapulted to the top issue for Republicans. It eclipses even the economy, with 39 percent of Republicans saying national security is their top issue when deciding whom to support for President. Another 18 percent say it is their second most important issue.
Donal Trump has also seen a lift in his personal ratings. Trump now has the highest favorable rating among all the GOP candidates, with 61 percent of Republicans having a positive opinion of the frontrunner. His unfavorable rating of 29 percent is down considerably from the start of the campaign. In April, 56 percent of Republicans had an unfavorable view of Trump.
Ted Cruz has the best net rating, subtracting unfavorables from favorables. Cruz’s personal rating is +40, followed by Marco Rubio with +37, Trump with +32 and Carson with +28. Jeb Bush’s net rating is -13.
With the exception of Ted Cruz, Donald Trump was roundly criticized by all of his Republican opponents, and much of the Republican national leadership, last week for his plan to temporarily ban Muslim immigrants from the US. Yet, still, two-thirds of Republicans, 67 percent, say they would be satisfied or happy if Trump were the GOP nominee. Moreover, 65 percent of Republicans believe Trump has the right temperament to be President.
In other words, the loud condemnations of Trump from national Republican leaders had zero impact on his standing with Republican voters. The threat to the Republican establishment isn’t so much that Trump will hijack the party, but that they have already lost the support of the party’s voters.
Trump isn’t tearing the party’s voters away from the establishment. He seems simply to be gaining the support of those that have already left.