According to new polls out on Monday Presidential candidate Donald Trump has soared into the 40s, tripling the support of his closest rival Senator Ted Cruz who took a mere 14 percent.
The surge in his approval comes after his controversial and ill-thought proposal to ban all Muslims from entering the United States.
The approval ratings likely reflect more on the media attention Trump has enjoyed as a result of his Muslim rant than a reflection on the public’s approval for such a proposal.
The statement gave Trump another boost of media attention, and some speculated it was designed to shift the conversation away from a Monmouth poll from Iowa released earlier that day that showed Cruz with a 5-point edge in the state.
Trump was still smarting from that poll last Friday, trashing it during a campaign rally in Des Moines, Iowa, though he may change his tune after this latest result.
“What the hell is Monmouth?” Trump asked at the rally, adding, “I only like polls that treat me well.”
Monmouth’s survey also held good news for Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who moved up to 10 percent support and third place, and bad news for retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who plummeted from 18 percent in October to 9 percent in this latest survey. Other candidates, including former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, polled within the margin of error, with 6 percent remaining undecided.
Trump celebrated the favorable findings with a series of tweets and a post on Facebook, featuring a graphic, that was shortly taken down after posting, without explanation.
“Looks like we just broke another polling ceiling,” he wrote to his followers. “While the establishment schemes to nominate someone they control – the voters are clearly indicating that they want someone who will fix the broken political system in DC. Thank you for your support! We will #MakeAmericaGreatAgain!”
Among various demographic groups, Trump picked up 13 points among those with a high-school education, earning 54 percent support with that group, and 11 points with those identifying with the tea party, earning 52 percent with that group. Cruz, however, picked up 15 points among tea party supporters, receiving 29 percent with that group. Trump’s standing among women has fallen slightly, down four points since October (41 percent to 37 percent this time), though he has gained three points with men (41 percent to 44 percent). Among those with a college degree, support for Trump fell by 10 points, from 41 percent to 31 percent.
In terms of favorability, Cruz led the way with a net positive 40 points (58 percent favorable to 18 percent unfavorable), followed by Rubio at +37 points (55 percent to 18 percent) and Trump at +32 points (61 percent to 29 percent). For Trump, the latest results mark an improvement over the last two months in the Monmouth poll. In October, his favorability sat at 52 percent to 33 percent.
Regardless of whether they supported Trump, 30 percent said they would be enthusiastic if he were the nominee, compared to 37 percent who said they would be satisfied. Just 12 percent said they would be dissatisfied, while 16 percent said they would be upset.
Asked whether they agreed that Trump had the proper temperament to be commander-in-chief, 65 percent agreed to some degree, while 33 percent disagreed to some measure. Among voters not supporting Trump or Cruz, however, just 55 percent to 43 percent said Trump’s temperament would be a good fit for the White House.
The numbers represent a boost for Trump after a Bloomberg Politics/Des Moines Register survey of likely Iowa Republican caucus participants on Saturday found that Cruz held a 10-point advantage over Trump. A Fox News poll gave Cruz a 28 percent-to-26 percent edge. In still another Iowa survey released Monday from Quinnipiac University, likely caucus-goers again indicated an essentially knotted race, with Trump at 28 percent and Cruz at 27 percent, virtually doubling Rubio’s 14 percent.
On Sunday, Trump took the gloves off on Cruz, days after The New York Times reported Cruz had told donors that the judgment of all candidates, including Trump’s, should be evaluated. “I don’t think he’s qualified to be president,” Trump said on “Fox News Sunday,” remarking that Cruz has been “frankly like a little bit of a maniac” as a senator.
In response, Cruz tweeted a clip of the song “Maniac” from the 1983 movie “Flashdance.”
The Monmouth poll was conducted Dec. 10-13, surveying 385 registered voters nationwide who identified as Republicans or independents who indicated that they leaned toward the Republican Party. The margin of error is plus or minus 5 percentage points.