Donald Trump Dramatically Increases Lead In New Poll

Donald Trump smiling and pointing during an event

Republican presidential front runner Donald Trump has strengthened his lead over his GOP rivals with more than double the support of any of the others.

Trump now has 35 percent support, up 13 points since October, a new CBS New/New York Times national poll found. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas has climbed into second place with 16 percent, while Ben Carson has lost approximately half of his support and has dropped to third place with 13 percent. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida has maintained 9 percent support, while all the rest of the Republican candidates have 4 percent or less.

CBS News and the New York Times conducted a significant number of the surveys before Trump made a controversial proposal to ban Muslims from entering the United States, so it is unknown if and how that will affect his numbers.

"Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on [with radical Islamist terrorism]," a Dec. 7 campaign press release said, according to CNN.

He later clarified that his proposal does not apply to Muslims currently living in the U.S., although the White House and several Republican leaders have denounced his statements regardless, saying that they go against American values and those of the Republican party.

While a growing number of Trump supporters (51 percent) said that they had completely made up their mind that they would vote for him in November 2016, the real estate mogul remains a controversial candidate, as nearly two-thirds of American voters reported that they are concerned or frightened of Trump becoming president, the poll found.

On the Democratic side, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (52 percent) has maintained a 20 point lead over Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont (32 percent), while former Gov. Martin O'Malley of Maryland trails in third place with only two percent support.

While more respondents were anxious about a Trump presidency (64 percent) than a Clinton one, the Democratic front runner still inspired fear in 57 percent of Americans.

Sources: CBS News, New York TimesCNN / Photo Credit: Ninian Reid/Flickr

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