Nearly Half of Republicans Believe Trump is ‘Most Electable’ GOP Candidate

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Forty-seven percent of Republican and Republican-leaning voters believe that Donald Trump is the GOP’s “most electable” candidate in 2016, according to a new ABC News/Washington Post poll — even though 44 percent of Republicans said they were “anxious” at the prospect of Trump as President.

The billionaire real estate mogul continues to expand his lead in the GOP race, despite the firestorm over Trump’s comment last week that he would temporarily bar Muslims from entering the United States.

“The Donald” gets support from 38 percent of Republican and GOP-leaning voters in the national poll, nearly triple the 14 percent who back runner-up, ultraconservative Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.  The fading Ben Carson is at 11 percent and Sen. Marco Rubio gets 10 percent.

Ex-Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is — as usual — in the single digits at 7 percent. Bush has fallen in support even though his campaign and SuperPAC have spent $36 million, far more than supporters of any other Republican candidate.

Trump has increased his support by 5 percent from a month ago, Cruz has doubled his backing — he has made major strides with religious right Republicans — while support for Carson has been cut in half.

The Republicans’ confidence in Trump as a general election nominee comes despite polling data that are sending a chill through the Republican establishment. A Trump implosion is still hoped for — “Donald Trump’s soft underbelly” said a headline in Tuesday’s Politico — but party pros are beginning to think the unthinkable of a Trump nomination.

Trump trails Hillary Clinton 50-44 percent in a head-to-head matchup of the two candidates with the highest recognition, and highest negatives, in the 2016 race.  An NBC News/Wall Street poll, released Monday, gave Clinton a 10-point lead.  She ran only three points ahead of Cruz.

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SOURCE: Seattle PI – Joel Connelly