Trump is the biggest gainer in the poll, up 6 points since July according to the first nationwide CNN/ORC poll since the top candidates debated in Cleveland on Aug. 6. Carson gained 5 points and Fiorina 4 points. Trump has also boosted his favorability numbers among Republicans, 58% have a favorable view of Trump now, that figure stood at 50% in the July survey.
These nationwide findings follow recent polling in Iowa and New Hampshire showing Trump also leads the Republican field in those two key early states.
And what of Jeb Bush's fortunes?
Bush, who held the top spot in the field in most CNN/ORC polls on the race between last fall and Trump's entry into the race in June, has seen his favorability ratings drop alongside his standing in the contest. Overall, 56% hold an unfavorable view of the former Florida governor and 42% of Republican voters have a negative impression. That's an increase in negative views among all adults (up from 43% since July) and among Republican voters (up from 34% unfavorable).
But it's on the issues where Trump is winning in his role as the GOP's unrestrained id.
Still, Trump has quickly won the trust of Republican voters on several top issues. According to the poll, 45% say they trust Trump more than any other Republican candidate on the economy -- up 25 points since June, 44% say they trust Trump over the others on illegal immigration -- up 30 points since June -- and 32% trust him most to handle ISIS, no other candidate comes close on any of these issues.
Oh but it gets better.
On the economy and illegal immigration, Trump is far and away the top choice even among those Republicans who support someone else for the nomination (33% who say they will most likely vote for someone else say Trump is their most trusted on the economy, 29% say so on illegal immigration). Trump is also most trusted on social issues, 19% say he's their top choice to handle that. Bush follows at 15%.
On two of these issues, Trump is more trusted among conservative Republicans than among moderate Republicans: When it comes to both the economy and illegal immigration, 50% of conservatives say they trust Trump, compared with 35% among moderates on each of those issues.
And what about his rampant sexism? It only makes the GOP ladies love him even more.
But there is no gender gap among Republicans on favorable views of Trump: 60% of Republican women voters have a positive impression as do 57% of GOP men. Outside the Republican Party, women are less apt to hold a favorable view of Trump, just 17% of women voters who are independents or Democratic leaners see him favorably, compared with 29% of non-Republican male voters.
What can the RNC do, cut off Trump's donors? He's a billionaire. He's the archetype of the GOP candidate, a guy so rich he can't be bought by special interests. They love him, and the rest of the GOP is in 100% panic mode. Think about this: 3 out of 5 Republican women are perfectly OK with Trump's special brand of misogyny. It's capitalism meets Dominionism.
And for very good reason. Trump shows no signs of crashing and burning. The longer he stays on top, the more likely he'll be the nominee. Vox's Lee Drutman attempts an explanation:
The data on this is pretty clear. Put simply: While most elite-funded and elite-supported Republicans want to increase immigration and decrease Social Security, a significant number of voters (across both parties) want precisely the opposite — to increase Social Security and decrease immigration. So when Trump speaks out both against immigration and against fellow Republicans who want to cut Social Security, he's speaking out for a lot people.
By my count of National Election Studies (NES) data, 24 percent of the US population holds this position (increase Social Security, decrease immigration). If we add in the folks who want to maintain (not cut) Social Security and decrease immigration, we are now at 40 percent of the total electorate, which I'll call "populist." No wonder folks are flocking to Trump — and to Bernie Sanders, who holds similar positions, though with more emphasis on the expanding Social Security part and less aggression on immigration.
Math seems pretty solid to me. Both Trump and Sanders are holding at about 24% nationally among their respective primary polls right now and both are on the upswing.
Of course, in a MUCH more likely scenario, 24% is awfully close to 27%, too, and Trump people are just racist assholes.