Poll suggests leading presidential Republican hopeful may finally have gone too far, with the billionaire losing 12 percentage points in one week.
Donald Trump’s support among Republicans has dropped 12 points in less than a week, marking the presidential hopeful’s biggest decline since he started leading the field in July, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll.
Trump is still in the lead, with 31% of people surveyed naming him as their preferred candidate in a rolling poll over five days that ended on 27 November. However, that number was down from a peak of 43% on 22 November.
The sharp drop follows criticism of Trump for comments he made in the aftermath of the Paris attacks on 13 November in which 130 people died.
Following the attacks, Trump told an NBC News reporter that he would support a plan requiring all Muslims within the United States to be registered to a special database, which his critics likened to the mandatory registration of Jews in Nazi Germany.
Trump was also criticised for flailing his arms and distorting his speech as he mocked a New York Times reporter, Serge Kovaleski, who is disabled.
The strange display came as defended his unsubstantiated assertion that during the 9/11 attacks on the United States, he watched on television as “thousands and thousands” of people in New Jersey cheered while the World Trade Center fell.
The outspoken billionaire is not the only front-runner to lose points in the latest survey.
Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson has seen his poll numbers drift downward and now trails Trump by more than half, with just 15% of Republicans polled saying they would vote for him in the same 27 November poll. As recently as late October, Carson trailed Trump by only six points.
Following Carson, Florida Senator Marco Rubio and Texas Senator Ted Cruz are tied for third place, with more than 8% each.
Florida governor Jeb Bush trailed Rubio and Cruz with 7%.