The Slatest

Trump Holds on to Commanding Lead in GOP Race After Call to Ban Muslims

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to guests gathered for a campaign event at Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds on December 5, 2015 in Davenport, Iowa.  

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

It seems to be increasingly clear that Donald Trump can say anything about Muslims and it won’t hurt his chances of becoming the Republican candidate for president. Trump’s call to ban Muslims from entering the United States may have earned derision worldwide, but the real estate mogul continues to hold a commanding lead over the rest of the pack. A full 35 percent of Republican voters say they support Trump in the latest Reuters/Ipsos poll, the first to be carried out at a national level after the billionaire called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.”

There may be a very simple explanation as to why the remarks didn’t hurt Trump’s chances: Republicans weren’t offended. Only 29 percent of Republicans said they found the remarks offensive, compared to 64 percent who did not. “He’s really saying what everybody else is feeling,” a voter tells Reuters. At least what Republicans are feeling. Seventy-two percent of Democrats said they were offended by Trump’s anti-Muslim remarks.

Trump’s continued hold on the lead in the Republican race comes at a time when the number of Americans who are afraid of another terrorist attack has been surging to new highs unseen since the weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. A month ago only four percent of Americans said terrorism was the most important issue facing the country, now that number has surged to 19 percent, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.

Ben Carson came in second in the latest Reuters/Ipsos poll with 12 percent while Sen. Ted Cruz and former Governor Jeb Bush were tied for fourth place with 10 percent each.