Donald Trump is a hugely polarizing figure. While he repels plenty of people, he continues to attract others.
To wit, the results from the latest Washington Post-ABC News survey show Trump with a commanding lead over his rivals for the Republican nomination for the US presidency. According to the poll, 24% of Republican or Republican-leaning registered voters would vote for Trump, or at least “lean toward” him, if a primary or caucus were held in their state today. The next-closest candidates, Scott Walker and Jeb Bush, polled at 13% and 12% of voters, respectively.
The poll results have a margin of error of 3.5%, meaning Trump has a comfortable cushion between himself and Walker, the governor of Wisconsin.
The results come just two days after Trump angered a number of influential Republicans (and Democrats) when he said John McCain, a longtime member of the Republican party and its candidate for president in 2008, was not a war hero for being captured during the Vietnam War.
But Trump’s lead doesn’t mean conservatives necessarily agree with him about McCain, or that he’s immune to backlash over his remarks. In an article detailing the new poll results, the Washington Post noted that his support “fell sharply” after his comments. The poll was taken from July 16 to July 19, so most of the polling calls were taken before Trump’s criticism of McCain had been widely reported.
Still, it’s a sizable increase for Trump over the slim lead he held in another recent poll, and a major bump up from the mere 4% of right-leaning voters who backed him in a May 31 Washington Post-ABC News poll.
Trump hadn’t yet declared his candidacy at that time; since then he has made headlines with his other inflammatory comments about Mexican immigrants to the US being “rapists” and criminals. While his words caused major business partners, including NBC and Macy’s, to part ways with him, they’ve spurred a number of conservative voters to his corner.