Despite last Thursday’s debate and the fallout from it, Donald Trump has maintained his lead in the GOP primary, Reuters said Monday, citing a new poll showing he still has a big lead over his rivals. The polling data, Reuters said, is “defying predictions of political doom” and causing some Republicans to explore ways to keep him from running as a third party candidate should he fail to secure the GOP nomination.
The Hill said Trump is also enjoying a big lead in Iowa, citing a poll released Monday by the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling. According to that poll, Trump leads with 19 percent support in Iowa, followed by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and Ben Carson, who are tied for second place.
On Monday, the Morning Consult’s Reid Wilson said Trump’s lead grew by seven percentage points, to 32 percent. News of Trump’s lead follows a Los Angeles Times report that says Fox News hosts rehearsed and planned the debate attack against the wealthy media mogul.
According to the Times, debate moderator Bret Baier even had what was called a “nuclear option” to be used against Trump if they felt it was necessary. Baier told the Times he hoped it wouldn’t have to be used, but said the team was “locked and loaded” just in case.
“The script — which Baier didn’t have to use — took a page from Trump’s ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ TV show,” the Times’ Stephen Battaglio said. “It went like this: ‘Mr. Trump, in your business you have rules. You follow rules. We have rules on this stage. We don’t want to have to escort you to the elevator outside this boardroom.'”
According to the Times, Fox News wanted to avoid being seen as tossing softballs to the Republican candidates. And it worked. The debate team won praise from the George Soros-funded Media Matters, which proclaimed: “The Fox News moderators appeared reasonable, effective, and pointed in their questions to the candidates.”
But Fox News ended up being the biggest loser in the debate, having angered a number of conservatives. On Sunday, we reported that thousands had signed a petition demanding Fox News keep Megyn Kelly from future GOP debates. As of this writing, that petition has been signed by more than 47,000 people.
The Times article said Baier even got a congratulatory handshake from MSNBC’s Chris Matthews before the debate. Battaglio also said that Baier “will spend 10 minutes alone behind a closed door to pray.” Now, Fox News is under fire from many in its own base of support.
And the target of the debate moderators, namely Donald Trump, appears to be solidifying his lead. And, Morning Consult added, “Trump’s support shows no evidence of slipping” even after the controversy stirred by comments he made to CNN’s Don Lemon — comments that got him uninvited from a conservative gathering over the weekend.