U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gestures during his speech in Ottumwa, Iowa, on Saturday
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gestures during his speech at the Bridge View Center in Ottumwa, Iowa, on Saturday. The billionaire businessman has retained the lead in the race for the Republican Presidential nomination three weeks ahead of the Iowa caucuses, belying the conventional wisdom that has sustained the hopes of his opponents -- extreme candidates wilt nearer to primaries.
His continuing lead in the race for Republican presidential nomination has belied the notion that extreme candidates lose steam nearer to contests.
Billionaire businessman Donald Trump has retained the lead in the race for the Republican Presidential nomination three weeks ahead of the Iowa caucuses, belying the conventional wisdom that has sustained the hopes of his opponents -- extreme candidates wilt nearer to primaries.
Not only that there is no slump in his popularity, Mr. Trump is also pulling more support for his controversial views on Muslims and immigrants.
“I’m going all the way”
Mr. Trump said on Sunday that he would not quit the race even if he loses Iowa on February 1. “There's no maybes…I’m going all the way. If I don’t win, I don’t win,” Mr. Trump told NBC on Sunday, adding that he would test his popularity in the Republican convention in July.
A Reuters poll on January 8 found only 47.8 percent respondents agreeing that his comments about Muslims could hurt his chances of becoming President, down by ten percentage points from December 9.
20 p.c. of Democratic voters want him
Another poll released on Saturday by Mercury Analytics, a Washington-based research company that has MSNBC and Fox News among its clients, showed 20 percent of Democratic voters could switch if Mr. Trump was the Republican candidate as opposed to 14 percent Republican voters. Effectively, Mr. Trump, as candidate, will attract more voters than he will repel.
Mr. Trump has started 2016 with his first advertisement campaign that trumped up his promise of stopping the entry of Muslims to the U.S, which the polls suggested resonated well even with the Democratic voters. Nearly a quarter of Democrats said they “agree completely” with Mr. Trump’s ads, and another 19 percent agreed “somewhat,” according to the Mercury polls.
I will create jobs like no one else
“Love seeing union & non-union members alike are defecting to Trump. I will create jobs like no one else. Their #Dem leaders can’t compete,” Mr. Trump tweeted.
Over the weekend, Mr. Trump added the sexual violence by immigrants in Cologne in Germany on the New Year eve to the list of reasons why Muslims should be barred. “What is happening in Germany is unbelievable….radical Islamic terrorism is a huge problem. And I took a lot of heat, all over the world. Now they are saying, what you have said is amazing. Now the whole world is talking about this,” Mr. Trump told a rally.
In Iowa, a Fox News poll shows Mr. Trump at 23 percent trailing Senator Ted Cruz who is at 27. But nationally and in New Hampshire where the primaries are scheduled for February 9, Mr. Trump is leading by a convincing margin. In New Hampshire, Mr. Trump has 33 percent, while Senator Marco Rubio who is at the second place has 15 percent support. Nationally, Mr. Trump has 35 percent and Mr. Cruz has 20 percent. In the Reuters polls, Mr. Trump’s lead is even bigger nationally – 41.1 percent against Mr. Cruz’s 16.2.
Remains frontrunner with Cruz
Neither Mr. Trump nor Mr. Cruz has been endorsed by a single Congressman or governor in the Republican party, but they remain frontrunners by large margins even as veterans such as former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and Ohio Governor John Kasich are far behind at single digits. Mr. Trump appears on course to disrupt the Republican Party before he enters the race for the White House.