Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has been dogged for days by his big debate clash with Fox News moderator Megyn Kelly over how he talks about women -- and he's done himself no favors in the aftermath by suggesting she was menstruating. But in the early voting states of New Hampshire and Iowa, the real estate mogul is still managing to lead the GOP field.
"The long-shot candidates staying in the race help keep Trump on top -- at least for now.”'
Trump is currently in first place in New Hampshire among likely Republican voters, receiving 18% support, according to a post-debate survey by Franklin Pierce University/Boston Herald. Behind Trump is former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush with 13%, Ohio Gov. John Kasich with 12%, and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz with 10%.
Meanwhile, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul were pulling in single-digit support, according to the Granite State survey.
Separately, a new Suffolk University poll of likely Iowa GOP caucus voters showed Trump leading with 17% support. Walker came in second place with 12%, followed by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio with 10% and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson with 9%. Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina and Cruz were tied with 7% each. Bush came in with only 5% support and Kasich with 3%, while former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Paul and Christie were tied with just 2% each.
David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center, said “It appears that Donald Trump’s lead is strong so long as the number of active opponents remains above a dozen.” He added, “If the Republican field were winnowed down to five or six candidates, Trump’s 17% probably wouldn’t be enough to win in Iowa. ... The long-shot candidates staying in the race help keep Trump on top—at least for now.”
Trump—who has also been criticized for controversial remarks about undocumented immigrants and questioning Sen. John McCain’s status as a war hero—said on Tuesday he’ll do whatever it takes to win the Oval Office, even if it means “whining” his way to the top.
“I do whine because I want to win and I’m not happy about not winning,” Trump told CNN. “And I am a whiner and I keep whining and whining until I win.”