In a discussion of his poll numbers, GOP front-runner Donald Trump used a colorful hyperbole for the loyalty of his voters, saying that he could “shoot someone” and wouldn’t lose any support.
“And you know what else they say about my people—the polls—they say I have the most loyal people, did you ever see that,” Trump said at a campaign rally in Iowa, drawing laughter from the crowd. “Where I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose any voters, OK? It’s, like, incredible.”
Trump was referring to poll data that showed that a much larger fraction of his supporters said they are “absolutely certain” they’ll vote for him compared to the supporters of his opponents in the Republican primary.
An NBC poll released in early January found that 51 percent of Trump supporters said they are “absolutely certain” they’ll vote for Trump, nearly double that of Rubio supporters—26 percent—who said they’re sure they’ll vote for the Florida Senator. 36 percent of Ted Cruz’s supporters are certain they’ll support the Texas Senator.
This means that Trump’s support among Republicans is even stronger than it appears in the national polls, since his voters are less likely to abandon him for another candidate. A Reuters poll from this week put Trump’s nation-wide support at 40.6 percent.
Cruz trails far behind at 10.5 percent, followed by Ben Carson, Jeb Bush, and Marco Rubio, each with support in the single digits.
A week before the voting booths open in Iowa, Trump has a 11-point edge over Cruz, and is expected to win New Hampshire, where he has an overwhelming lead.