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Trump maintains lead, widens gap over Republican rivals

Washington: Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has not only maintained his top position in the popularity ratings, but has also widened his gap over rivals in the 2016 elections race, latest polls showed today.

According to the national opinion polls, released by Fox News, Trump retains the top spot with a record 28 per cent support. He is up by 2 per cent compared to the poll conducted on November 1-3 by the channel.

The figures would boost Trump’s presidential ambitions, which has surprised many political pundits. His popularity ratings have soared even as he was attacked by his political rivals for his controversial comments on religious minorities.

The popularity of Trump’s closest Republican rival Ben Carson has dropped from 23 per cent to 18 per cent. Two others Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are tied at 14 per cent.

Jeb Bush’s popularity remains disappointing at 5 per cent. The latest poll was conducted between November 16 and 19.

On RealClearPolitics.Com, which aggregates all the recent national opinion polls, Trump with 27.5 per cent leads his nearest Republican rival Carson with 7.7 percentage point.

In another survey, Pew Research Centre said Trump, Rubio, Cruz and Carson get higher favourable ratings among Republicans who are angry at government than among non-angry Republicans, in part because they are better known among the “angry” group.

A year ahead of the election, American public is deeply cynical about government, politics and the nation’s elected leaders in a way that has become quite familiar, it said.

The survey, based on more than 6,000 interviews conducted between August 27 and October 4, 2015, found that only 19 per cent say they can trust the government always or most of the time, among the lowest levels in the past half-century.

Only 20 per cent would describe government programmes as well run.

And elected officials are held in such low regard that 55 per cent of the public says “ordinary Americans” would do a better job of solving national problems, it said.

According to Pew, the public finds the government frustrating and badly managed at a general level: 59 per cent say it is in need of “very major reform,” up 22 percentage points since 1997.

However at a specific level, in 10 of the 13 areas included in the survey, the balance of opinion about government performance is more positive than negative.