Latest GOP poll has Donald Trump back on top

Donald Trump’s popularity has been rising among Republicans following the terror attacks in Paris.

Wade Payne/AP
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign stop Monday, Nov. 16, 2015, in Knoxville, Tenn.

Presidential candidate Donald Trump has regained his place at the top of at least one new Republican presidential poll.

The real estate tycoon comfortably leads the pack, with 28 percent of Republicans voters’ support, according to a NBC News/SurveyMonkey poll released Friday. That’s 10 points clear of his nearest competitors, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, each polling at 18 percent.

The only other GOP hopeful to crack double digits was Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, at 11 percent.  

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, once thought the candidate to beat, netted just 4 percent. He’s followed by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Carly Fiorina who each polled at 3 percent.

The new poll indicates that Dr. Carson is the preferred candidate of 25 percent of white evangelicals, which is a decline of 8 percent points since last month. On the other hand, Trump and Cruz have gained in one of Carson's key demographics.

Carson’s drop comes weeks after intense media scrutiny over stories about his adolescence as well as strong criticism for his lack of foreign policy experience.

During an interview with "Fox News Sunday" last week, Carson could not name a specific country or leader he would call to pull together an international coalition to counter Islamic State.

Following last week’s terror attacks in Paris, multiple polls suggest that Trump’s popularity has risen among GOP voters, defying the conventional expectation that voters would turn to a more experienced candidate to handle such a crisis, The Christian Science Monitor reported.

The polls show that, once again, Beltway wisdom was wrong. The attacks didn't expose Trump as ill-prepared or unversed. Instead, it appears that Trump's populist appeal and show of strength, even aggression, hold significant appeal in times of fear and anxiety.

“If you look at the public polling as to who is strongest when it comes to defeating ISIS, Mr. Trump is the clear winner,” Trump's campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, told The Hill. “These are not my assertions. These are what the polls say time and time again. People want a person who is strong leader.”

Trump’s surge comes despite his recent controversial remarks, where he called for shutting down of US mosques to counter the threat of terrorism following the Paris attacks.

“Nobody wants to say this and nobody wants to shut down religious institutions or anything, but you know, you understand it,” Trump said on Fox News’s “Hannity” on Tuesday. "There's absolutely no choice."

It is clear that Trump’s in-your-face demeanor is winning over Republican primary voters.

The NBC News/SurveyMonkey poll was conducted online between Nov. 15-17. It questioned 2,440 Republican and Republican-leaning independent voters. The margin of error was plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.

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