At the end of last month, a CNN/ORC poll showed the Republican candidate leading Democratic rival Hillary Clinton by three points. This was largely due to the Republican National Convention and an expected surge in party unity following the billionaire’s nomination.
A spate of campaign scandals over the past week, however, appear to be continuing the splinter effect on party harmony.
A Reuters/Ipsos poll released Wednesday found that one in five registered Republicans think Trump should abandon the race. An additional 10% of those polled said they were undecided.
Among all registered voters, 44% think the Republican candidate should drop out. This is a 9-point increase from the last poll released Monday.
The numbers likely reflect Trump’s string of ill-considered remarks over the past week-and-a-half. In the wake of the Democratic National Convention, the billionaire responded to criticisms of him made by the father of a dead US soldier, sparking an unprecedented feud between a major presidential candidate and a Gold Star family.
This was followed by a bizarre exchange in which Trump expelled a crying baby from a rally in Ashburn, Virginia.
Republican power-brokers, reportedly discussing ways to rein in the billionaire, were alarmed after Trump stooped to a new low on Tuesday, joking about assassinating his political opponent.
"Hillary wants to abolish, essentially abolish, the Second Amendment," Trump declared, referring to Clinton. "By the way, and if she gets to pick, if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know."
The Second Amendment protects the right of US citizens to “keep and bear arms.”
The new poll reflects the position of a number of high-ranking Republicans. Maine Senator Susan Collins publicly stated that she will not endorse the candidate, and New York Republican Rep. Richard Hanna said he would vote for Clinton.