The latest political polls indicate business magnate Donald Trump has extended his lead in the the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, with almost twice the support of his closest rival, even as he ignited a new controversy after demeaning the Vietnam War status of Sen. John McCain’s Vietnam War service, according to a new Washington Post-ABC poll.
Trump’s support skyrocketed after his inflammatory — some say racist — talk on immigration, saying that most Mexican immigrants were rapists and criminals. But Trump’s stature and support fell sharply after he questioned the “war hero” status of fellow Republican Senator John McCain — complimenting him but in a back-handed way — but that was not indicated in the polls. Trump has spent the ensuing days Moonwalking back his McCain rhetoric and mopping up the mess his incendiary words said of the Arizona Senator.
Even with the drop in support on the final night of the survey, Trump was the favorite of 24 percent of registered Republicans and Republican-leaning independents. That is the highest percentage and biggest lead recorded by any GOP candidate this year in Post-ABC News polls and marks a sixfold increase in his support since late May, shortly before he formally joined the race.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who announced his candidacy a week ago, trials Trump by a wide margin at 13 percent. The product of a political dynasty and the man who handed his brother the presidency in 2000 as the then-Florida governor, Jeb Bush, at 12 percent.
Walker’s support is surprising, and his support is the strongest among those who describe themselves as “very conservative,” the Post-ABC Poll suggests.
It remains to be seen if Trump’s early success will translate in Iowa and New Hampshire and onto a legitimate shot at the Republican candidacy for president.