Trump stays on top of GOP field in Pew poll

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is maintaining his lead in the GOP race, according to a poll released by the Pew Research Center on Friday.

The real estate mogul garners 25 percent of the GOP vote, followed by retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson with 16 percent support.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina are tied for third place with 8 percent. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) follows with 6 percent, then former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush with 4 percent.

The poll attributes Trump’s popularity to his stance on immigration.

Among respondents who said they prefer a candidate a plan to deport illegal immigrants in the country, 34 percent support Trump. Carson is second in this group with 16 percent.

Among those who dislike candidates with such a stance, only 13 percent support Trump — second-most in the field, after Carson’s 17 percent.

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The candidate everyone thought could change the Republican Party is completely collapsing

The moment one veteran Republican strategist realized Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) was flailing as a presidential candidate came when he suddenly decided to take on Donald Trump last week at the first presidential debate.

Challenging Trump’s refusal to pledge support for the eventual nominee should have been a moment that earned Paul some credibility among Republicans frustrated with Trump’s rise.

But it ended up falling flat.

“It just missed the mark,” the strategist said. “He didn’t give off a good vibe doing it.”

Last fall, Time magazine declared Paul the “most interesting man in politics” and stamped him on its cover. Paul launched his campaign earlier this year pledging that he was a “different kind of Republican.”

Four months later, though it’s still early in a crowded, fluid race, it’s clear that many Republicans want different — but not him.

His campaign is struggling to keep up with his rivals in fundraising. Two of his political allies running an outside super PAC supporting his candidacy were recently indicted on campaign-finance fraud charges. Significant plunges in polling are starting to correspond.

And Trump has an aggressive counterpunch. In a raging statement responding to Paul, the real-estate tycoon took him to task for running for reelection to the Senate at the same time he’s campaigning for president.

“I feel sorry for the great people of Kentucky who are being used as a back up to Senator Paul’s hopeless attempt to become President of the United States — weak on the military, Israel, the Vets and many other issues. Senator Paul has no chance of wining the nomination and the people of Kentucky should not allow him the privilege of remaining their Senator,” Trump said…

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