A recent Reuters poll shows that Donald Trump still has a strong lead over his rivals for the Republican nomination for the presidential election despite, or perhaps due to, his controversial comments about Muslim immigrants.
he poll showed that Trump has the support of 35% of the Republican voters, which places him strongly ahead of his second place rival, Dr. Ben Carson, who won just 12% of the Republican voters. Senator Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush both had 10% of the voters.
Perhaps even more significant was the fact that his lead was not diminished despite his comments last week that Muslim immigrants, students and other travelers should be barred from entering the country.
64% of the Republicans surveyed said they were not offended by Trumps comment, though 29% of the Republican voters said they were offended. 41% said the comment could hurt his chances of being elected president. 72% of Democrats and 47% of voters overall said they were offended by Trump’s comments.
Though early polls are known to be poor predictors of winners, there has been a marked upswing in Trump’s lead since the Paris attacks. His lead seems to be connected to security concerns of the average American, each attack generating concern that makes people look towards a leader with a tough-guy image who is willing to make the connection between Islam and terror.
His remarks came the day after President Barack Obama called for tolerance in the wake of the deadly attack in San Bernadino by a married Muslim couple who had been radicalized. 14 people were killed and 22 injured in the attack.
European leaders reacted differently to Trump’s remark. A spokesman for British Prime Minister David Cameron said he “completely disagrees” with Trumps comments, considering them to be “divisive, unhelpful and quite simply wrong.” The UN refugee agency said Trump’s remarks could jeopardize the ongoing refugee resettlement process.
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls Tweeted on Tuesday, “”Trump, like others, stokes hatred and conflations: our ONLY enemy is radical Islamism.” Valls is presently in an election battle against the National Front party led by Marine Le Pen. Le Pen’s far-right party’s anti-immigration platform is gaining them strong support, just as it is for Trump.