Despite courting controversy for his latest policy plans concerning Muslims entering the US, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump continues to rise in the polls. Trump is up 13 points since October with 35% support in the latest CBS News/New York Times election poll released on 10 December.
The bombastic Grand Old Party (GOP) frontrunner was followed by Texas Senator Ted Cruz, with 16%, and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, with 13%. Florida Senator Marco Rubio rounds out the top four candidates with 9%, while the rest of the Republican candidates earned 4% or less. The poll was conducted prior to Trump's calls for a temporary ban of Muslims entering the US.
According to The New York Times, 24% of overall voters expressed concern and 40% feared what Trump could do if elected president. Among Republican voters, a third said they were concerned or scared about Trump, but 24% said they were excited and 41% said they were optimistic.
The real estate mogul turned conservative politician has been on the receiving end of an intense backlash after calling for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the US. The proposal would not just include immigrants and tourists, but Muslim-American citizens currently abroad. Several presidential candidates in both parties have condemned the anti-Muslim rhetoric, with Jeb Bush calling Trump "unhinged".
Trump has also received backlash from abroad. In the UK, a petition calling for Trump to be banned from traveling to Britain for "hate speech" has surpassed 487,000 signatures and can officially be considered for debate by Parliament. The Scottish government, meanwhile, dropped the Republican candidate as a business ambassador and Robert Gordon University stripped him of an honorary degree. In response, Trump has accused UK politicians of "pandering to political correctness".
Despite this, it appears that Trump's backers are convinced of their support for him. CBS News reported that 51% of his supporters claim they have their minds made up about him, unlike just a quarter of voters who support other candidates. Trump took to Twitter to thank the latest poll, writing, "That you for your support! Being #PoliticallyCorrect will NOT #MakeAmericaGreatAgain!"