Donald Trump Could Ditch The GOP

Donald Trump is rekindling talk that he will run as an independent candidate for president, citing a poll showing a majority of his supporters will follow him wherever he goes.

“A new poll indicates that 68% of my supporters would vote for me if I departed the GOP & ran as an independent,” Trump posted on Facebook and Twitter last night.

He linked to a USA Today/Suffolk University poll that showed his popularity runs deep — with only 18 percent of his supporters saying they would not follow him if he drops his Republican label and goes it alone as an independent. The rest were undecided, the poll states.

The strong poll numbers come as the New York real estate mogul faced a second day of withering criticism for his call for a “complete shutdown” of Muslims entering the country.

Trump didn’t back down and even won support for the ban from New York media titan Rupert Murdoch.

So far, it appears Trump’s bombast has not hurt him.

“Even if he misspeaks, his supporters feel that he exudes strength,” said GOP strategist Ford O’Connell. “I think a lot of people will agree that he is on the right subjects in all the wrong ways. (But) there is a very palpable fear out there about radical Islamic terrorism, and lot of people see him as strong.”

Read more from Kimberly Atkins, Matt Stout and Chris Villani at the Boston Herald

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Analysis & Political Strategy