Donald Trump is not going away anytime soon. That much is clear from the latest Economist/YouGov poll of the 2016 Republican presidential hopefuls that claims support for the real estate magnate soared to 28 percent, up from 15 percent the previous week. That means more than twice the number of Republicans describe Trump as their first choice than former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who is backed by 14 percent of Republicans, and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who has 13 percent support.
“There is clearly a core group of registered voters who identify as Republicans that has coalesced around Trump’s tough talk and proposals,” notes YouGov. “He is even more clearly in first place than he was two weeks ago when Republicans are asked to choose among the current candidates.”
Yet it’s not all good news for Trump. Even as he solidifies his first-place slot among Republican contenders, his unfavorable ratings are on the rise. In the previous YouGov poll, Trump had the highest favorable ratings. In a week, the reality TV star has seen his favorable ratings drop 11 points to 53 percent and his unfavorable ratings rise 15 points to 42 percent. And despite the growing support, Republicans still don’t see him as the likely nominee and largely expect Bush will be the party’s candidate.
Trump's unfavorable ratings are likely to increase considering that it’s unclear how much the poll was affected by Trump’s criticism of Arizona Sen. John McCain. The poll began on the same day Trump questioned McCain’s status as a war hero so some of the respondents may not have been aware of the controversy yet.