Despite the fact (or because) Donald Trump has been criticized and cut off by major corporations in recent days, he has now climbed to a statistical tie with Republican 2016 presidential front-runner Jeb Bush, in a new poll.
In a recent Reuters/Ipsos survey of 400 self-identified Republicans, the real estate developer and reality show star gathered 15.8 percent of the votes, compared to former Florida Gov. Bush's 16.1 percent.
The numbers show that Mr. Trump has been advancing in the past two weeks, while support for Bush has waned. On June 30, Trump had 12.8 percent of the votes, while Bush had 16.9 percent.
Lagging behind them are New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie with 9.5 percent, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul with 8.1 percent, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson with 7.2 percent and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker with 5.8 percent. Seven percent of people said they would not vote.
Other recent polls have also shown Trump’s growing influence among conservative voters.
In Iowa, Gov. Walker leads the GOP vote with 18 percent. Yet Trump has reached a tie against Carson for second place as both currently attract 10 percent of likely Iowa Republican voters, according to a Quinnipiac University survey.
He also comes in second in New Hampshire with 11 percent, while Gov. Bush leads with 14 percent, says a recent Suffolk University poll. Nationally, the two have garnered the most support compared to other GOP presidential contenders, according to a CNN/ORC poll. It shows that both candidates each have support from 12 percent of conservative voters.
But some analysts say that as Trump's profile rises, he may be pulling the Republican Party too far to the right to win a national election. In his comments criticizing the nation’s immigration system last month, he single out illegal Mexican immigrants, and sparked a fire that has yet to burn out.
“Our next president needs to be someone who brings Americans together – not someone who continues to divide,” said Florida Sen. Marco Rubio in a statement released last week. “Our broken immigration system is something that needs to be solved, and comments like this move us further from – not closer to – a solution.”
Others candidates have followed suit as they seek to distance the GOP from Trump. In an interview with CNN, fellow GOP candidate South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said, “My party is in a hole with Hispanics. The first rule of politics when you're in a hole is stop digging. And somebody needs to take a shovel out of Donald Trump's hand."
“This is where Trump’s unfavorability is limiting people’s tolerance to hear what he has to say, and voters would rather see other candidates in the debate,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston.
Though Trump continues to attract attention, his views may thwart his progress in the long term.
“Trump’s controversial candidacy is being constructed in a way that gives him visibility and exposure in the short term but may also limit his growth in the long run, like a glass ceiling,” Paleologos said.
As The Christian Science Monitor's Peter Grier has observed, too, Jeb Bush is essentially in the same position that Mitt Romney held in 2012: "The question is whether Trump’s newfound numbers will hold up. In 2012, a series of Mitt Romney’s rivals rose and fell. They were discovered by voters, then received more intense press scrutiny (Herman Cain’s alleged sexual harassment problem comes to mind) and fell to earth."