Washington: The popularity rating of controversial US presidential candidate Donald Trump continues to soar even though he is facing a global backlash for his call for a ban on the entry of Muslims into the country.
As per the latest poll released yesterday by Fox News in the key swing State of South Carolina, Trump leads with 35 per cent among Republican primary voters.
Trump's nearest rival Ben Carson is a whopping 20 points behind with 15 per cent, followed by Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio with both receiving 14 per cent each.
As per the national average compiled by RealClearPolitics.Com, Trump, 69, has a popularity rating of 29.3 per cent against Cruz's 15.5 per cent.
But Trump continued to be slammed by his political opponents and leaders from his own political party, for his argument that Muslims be denied entry into the US.
"Donald Trump you know he does traffic in prejudice and paranoia. It's not only shameful, it's dangerous. So when he says he wants to stop all Muslims from entering the United States, that runs counter to what I and others who have actually been in the Situation Room, making hard choices, know we have to do," Hillary Clinton, the leading Democratic presidential candidate said.
"We have to enlist help from American Muslims, Muslims around the world in defeating the radical jihadists and the hateful ideology that they represent. Instead Donald Trump is supplying them with new propaganda. He is playing right into their hands," she said.
However, Trump said his proposal was acting in the Islamic community's best interests.
"I'm doing good for the Muslims," Trump told CNN in an interview.
"Many Muslim friends of mine are in agreement with me. They say, 'Donald, you brought something up to the fore that is so brilliant and so fantastic'," he said.
Trump, however received support from Sarah Palin, former Alaska Governor.
"Herd mentality running rampant with hypocritical and/or naive pundits trying to crush Donald Trump because he's committed to clobbering the bad guys, and putting the good guys first," she said.
"Trump's temporary ban proposal is in the context of doing all we can to force the Feds to acknowledge their lack of strategy to deal with terrorism," Palin said.
In a lead article, The Washington Post said such rhetoric is part of Trump's campaign strategy.
Trump often provokes a fresh, whiplash-inducing controversy that eclipses the current one, triggering a new round of free media coverage that cements his place at the forefront of the news cycle, The Washington Post reported.