Donald Trump just surged to his biggest lead yet in Iowa

Real-estate magnate has jumped out to his biggest lead yet in the state of Iowa, which will hold the nation’s first presidential caucuses next year.

A new CNN/ORC poll released Wednesday showed Trump getting 22% of the vote from likely Iowa Republican caucus-goers.

That puts him up 8 points over his next-closest challenger, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) comes in third place, earning 9% of the vote.

The new poll comes a day after another poll of the Hawkeye State displayed mixed signals for the real-estate magnate in the wake of the first presidential debate, which generated another round of controversy for Trump. But the CNN poll shows him resonating with Iowa GOP voters on key issues.

Some examples:

  • When asked which candidate they think would be best for the economy if elected president, 37% say Trump. That’s 27 points higher than his closest competition on the issue — former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina.
  • Iowa GOP voters also say he’s best to handle the issue of illegal immigration: 35% of respondents choose Trump as their preferred candidate on the issue, compared with 12% for US Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).
  • He’s also polling best when Iowa voters were asked which candidate would best handle the issue of “terrorism.”
  • Finally, in an answer that gets across the heart of Trump’s appeal to Republican voters, they also say he’d be “most likely to change the way things work in Washington.” He’s at 44% in the poll, and no other Republican candidate is even close.

Trump took over the lead from Walker in Iowa late last month and has led by as much as 7 points in the weeks since. But many political observers expected his poll standing to drop after his debate performance and subsequent clashing with moderator Megyn Kelly, about whom he made a comment that many interpreted as lewd.

“Well, I’m not really looking to offend people, Jake,” Trump told CNN’s Jake Tapper in response to the release of the poll. “But once in a while, that will happen. But I think I was, you know, mistreated a little bit, but that’s OK. But I’m really honored. I’m honored by your call, and 22%. That’s a big number. That’s a really big number. So it’s a great honour. Thank you.”

Carson, meanwhile, continued a post-debate surge in polls. He was second to Trump in Iowa in a Public Policy Polling survey of the race released earlier this week, and he placed third in two national polls.

CNN’s poll was the first time since January, however, that Walker did not poll in double digits. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) slipped into a tie for seventh in the poll, with only 5% of the theoretical Republican vote.

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