New polls suggest that no matter what he says, Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump remains the top pick of conservative Republican voters less than eight weeks before the first votes are cast in Iowa on February 1.
Late Monday, Trump set off a political firestorm both at home and abroad when he proposed banning Muslims from coming into the United States. Yet by Thursday, public opinion polls both nationally and in key early-voting states showed Trump's popularity continuing to surge.
The latest New York Times-CBS News national poll shows Trump leading the Republican presidential field with 35 percent support, far ahead of Texas Senator Ted Cruz at 16 percent and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson at 13 percent. The latest state polls show Trump well ahead in New Hampshire, competing with Cruz for the lead in Iowa, and building a solid lead in South Carolina.
The latest Fox News poll of Republican primary voters also put Trump at 35 percent, with Carson at 15 percent, and Cruz and Marco Rubio tied at 14 percent each.
"To be honest with you, I have no idea and anyone who tells you they do is lying to you," said Republican strategist Ford O'Connell, a sentiment shared by many eagerly watching the runup to the first votes in Iowa.