By Thomas Madison
Donald Trump has taken a commanding lead in the latest GOP presidential national poll by Monmouth. At 41% Trump is 27 points ahead of his nearest rival, Ted Cruz, who is at 14%. The only other candidate in double digits is Marco Rubio at 10%. followed closely by Ben Carson at 9%.
Jeb Bush (LOL!) registers a whopping 3%, as does Ohio governor, John Kasich. The remainder of the field is tied at 2%.
The Donald is clearly steamrolling through this primary. His favorability rating is also gaining, now at 61%.
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Donald Trump has crossed the 40 percent threshold in a new national poll, giving the Republican presidential candidate the largest lead he’s held in any survey so far.
A Monmouth University poll released Monday found Trump taking 41 percent support and opening up a 27-point lead over the next closest contender ahead of Tuesday night’s Republican presidential debate in Las Vegas.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) is a distant second place, taking 14 percent, followed by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) at 10 percent and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson at 9 percent.
The rest of the Republican field barely registers in the poll, with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Ohio Gov. John Kasich taking 3 percent support each, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, businesswoman Carly Fiorina, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) each taking 2 percent.
The poll was conducted between Dec. 10 and Dec. 13, in the days after Trump made his controversial call to ban Muslims from entering the United States.
“It has become abundantly clear that Trump is giving his supporters exactly what they want, even if what he says causes the GOP leadership and many Republican voters to cringe,” said Monmouth pollster Patrick Murray.
The poll registered a 13-point jump for Trump over the same poll from mid-October. Trump’s favorability rating is also on the rise, and now sits at 61 percent positive and 29 percent negative, up from a 52-33 split from the previous poll.
Cruz and Rubio have each gained four points over the previous poll, while Carson has fallen by nine points.
The favorability ratings for Cruz and Rubio are also on the rise, with Cruz registering a 58-18 split, and Rubio coming in at 55 percent positive and 18 percent negative. Carson’s favorability rating is comparable at 57-25, but has swung lower since October, when he was viewed positively by 65 percent and negatively by 11 percent.
The Monmouth survey is the latest in a string of polls to show Trump building on his lead as the focus of the GOP race has turned to national security in the wake of terror attacks in Paris, France and San Bernardino, Calif.
Trump holds a 13 point lead over the next closest contender, according to the RealClearPolitics average of national polls. He holds comparable leads in the early-voting states of New Hampshire and South Carolina, although Cruz has emerged as the new favorite in Iowa.
The Monmouth survey found national security is the most important issue to Republican voters, beating out the economy by 20 points.
The Monmouth poll found one area of vulnerability for Trump. A majority of GOP voters, 55 percent, say he does not have the temperament to be commander in chief, against 43 percent who say he does.
That’s a line of attack that several GOP contenders have tried against Trump, and one that Cruz test-drove to donors at a fundraiser in Manhattan last week, although he has declined to follow up on it so far.
Still, most Cruz supporters say Trump does have the temperament to be president, and 63 percent of those backing the Texas Republican say they’d be satisfied with Trump as the nominee.
Trump dominates among every conservative voting bloc, but does particularly well among Tea Party supporters, taking 52 percent support, and those with only a high school education, taking 54 percent support, according to the poll.