Donald Trump has taken a commanding lead over Scott Walker and Jeb Bush, his closest rivals for the GOP nomination, according to the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll.
Trump has the support of 24% of those who say they are registered Republicans or leaning Republican compared to just 13% for Walker and 12% for Bush. The surge for Trump comes as he deals with the fallout of his jab at Arizona senator and Republican John McCain.
Over the weekend Trump said McCain was not a war hero, later modifying his remarks to say, "Perhaps he's a war hero, but right now he's said some very bad things about a lot of people." McCain has referred to Trump's supporters and "crazies" and in the past has lashed out at Tea Party activists and conservative-minded voters prompting Trump to tell radio host Dana Loesch that McCain should apologize.
According to the ABC/WaPo poll the comments from Trump may hurt his numbers:
Support for Trump fell sharply on the one night that voters were surveyed following those comments. Telephone interviewing for the poll began Thursday, and most calls were completed before the news about the remarks was widely reported.
Although the sample size for the final day was small, the decline was statistically significant. Still, it is difficult to predict what could happen to Trump’s support in the coming days and weeks as the controversy plays out.
Drilling down into the numbers, Trump's support is coming from the more liberal wing of the Republican Party with 27% of those identifying as "moderate/liberal" saying they support Trump, Bush runs second in that group with 13%. Among those that identify as "very conservative" Walker leads with 25% support while Trump runs second at 17%.
Trump has been riding a wave of support after making comments about the porous southern border and crimes committed by illegal immigrants, a claim denounced by many in the media and political establishment but supported by stories in the headlines such as this, this and this.