© Greg Nash
Republican presidential front-runner Donald TrumpDonald TrumpTHE MEMO: Frustrated Trump looks to turn it around Manafort-linked accounts on Cyprus probed: report Republican failure MORE has hit a new high in North Carolina in part because of his tough rhetoric on Islam, a new poll found.
Trump gets 33 percent support among that state's Republicans, doubling the nearest contender, according to a survey from the liberal-leaning Public Policy Polling (PPP), released Tuesday.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) is in second place, at 16 percent, followed by retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), at 14 percent each.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush follows at 5 percent, with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Ohio Gov. John Kasich each at 4 percent.
The survey was conducted before Trump ignited a firestorm of controversy this week by proposing that Muslims be barred from entering the country.
However, the poll tested GOP attitudes on Trump’s previous rhetoric on Islam, and found his ideas are supported by a plurality of Republicans in the state.
Trump has flirted with the idea of a national registry for Muslims, has said the U.S. must spy on mosques and close down those believed to be disseminating extreme views, and has alleged that “thousands” of Muslim-Americans cheered the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks from rooftop parties in New Jersey.
The survey found that 48 percent of Republicans in North Carolina support a national database for Muslims, while only 33 percent oppose the idea.
Thirty-five percent of Republicans in North Carolina “want to shut down the mosques in the U.S.” according to the poll, with 33 percent saying they oppose that idea.
And 42 percent said they believe thousands of Arabs in New Jersey cheered the 9/11 terror attacks, against 26 percent who said they did not believe that happened.
All of those numbers are far greater among Trump’s supporters.
Sixty-seven percent of Trump backers said they support a national database for Muslims; 51 percent said they want to see the nation’s mosques shut down; and 62 percent said they believe thousands of Muslims cheered the 9/11 attacks at parties in New Jersey.
The PPP survey of 537 Republican primary voters in North Carolina was conducted between Dec. 5 and Dec. 7 and has a 4.2 percentage point margin of error.
Trump has increased his support in North Carolina according to every PPP survey of North Carolina since July. Voters in the state will cast ballots on March 15.