- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 23, 2015

Real estate mogul and 2016 presidential candidate Donald Trump is ahead of his fellow Republican contenders in another national survey on the field.

Mr. Trump was the first choice of 19 percent of GOP primary voters, followed closely by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker at 17 percent in the poll released Monday by the Democratic-leaning firm Public Policy Polling.

Next was former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush at 12 percent, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida at 10 percent apiece and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee at 8 percent.

Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina and Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky were at 4 percent apiece, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Ohio Gov. John Kasich were at 3 percent apiece. No other candidate topped 1 percent.

The survey was conducted Monday and Tuesday — after Mr. Trump’s comments over the weekend questioning the heroism of Sen. John McCain of Arizona. Mr. Trump had said Mr. McCain, a prisoner of war in Vietnam for more than five years, is a war hero because “he was captured” and later clarified he does indeed consider Mr. McCain to be a war hero.

But Mr. Trump has received significant pushback from Republicans since then, many of whom have condemned the remarks. Fifty percent of Republicans in the survey said they disagree with Mr. Trump’s comments about Mr. McCain, and 22 percent said they agree with them.

But he still led across a swath of Republican voters; he led among those describing themselves as “very conservative” as well as among moderates, and among voters who say their biggest concern is having the candidate who’s most conservative on the issues and among voters who say their main concern is winning in the general election.

However, Mr. Trump is the worst-performing Republican candidate against former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, the 2016 Democratic front-runner, trailing her by 13 points in a general election match-up, 50 percent to 37 percent. Mr. Paul was the closest, trailing Mrs. Clinton by 3 points, 45 percent to 42 percent.

The survey of 1,087 voters taken July 20-21 included a subsample of 524 Republican primary voters, with an overall margin of error of plus or minus 3 percent. For the GOP subgroup, the margin of error was plus or minus 4.3 percent.

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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