New NBC News/Survey Monkey Poll: Donald Trump still in the lead after debates

Donald Trump
FILE- In this Aug. 6, 2015, file photo, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to the media in the spin room after the first Republican presidential debate at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. Trump is showing no signs of curbing his battle with a Fox News television host, the Republican Party establishment and several presidential primary rivals who are accusing him of disrespecting women. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

(NBC) – If Donald Trump’s comments about Fox News Anchor Megyn Kelly are hurting his standing in the Republican primary, it’s not showing in the numbers.

According to the latest NBC News Online Poll conducted by SurveyMonkey, Trump is at the top of the list of GOP candidates that Republican primary voters would cast a ballot for if the primary were being held right now.

The overnight poll was conducted for 24 hours from Friday evening into Saturday. During that period, Donald Trump stayed in the headlines due to his negative comments about Kelly and was dis-invited from a major conservative gathering in Atlanta.

None of that stopped Trump from coming in at the top of the poll with 23 percent. Sen. Ted Cruz was next on the list with 13 percent.

During the Fox News debate Thursday evening, Trump was the only Republican candidate to say he would not rule out a run as an independent candidate. According to this poll, that’s just fine with over half of his supporters. 54% of Trump supporters said they would vote for him for president, even if he didn’t win the GOP nomination. About one in five Trump supporters said they would switch and support the eventual Republican candidate.

The surprise result from the poll might have been businesswoman Carly Fiorina’s performance. 22% said she won the debate, besting Trump, Sen. Marco Rubio and Cruz. In overall support, she came in fourth with 8% of Republican primary voters saying they would support her in a primary or a caucus. This may not seem like a lot, but she had a gain in support of six points, which was the second highest in the poll. Fiorina may have benefited from stepped up media coverage due to her performance in the so-called “Happy Hour” debate that aired on Thursday before the prime-time event.

Click here for full poll results and an explanation of the methodology.

The NBC News Online Survey was conducted online by SurveyMonkey from August 7-8, 2015 among a national sample of 3,551 adults aged 18 and over.

Respondents for this non-probability survey were selected from the nearly three million people who take surveys on the SurveyMonkey platform each day. Results have an error estimate of plus or minus 2.4 percentage points for the entire sample and 3.4 percentage points for Republican primary voters. A full description of our methodology can be found here.

The survey was produced by the Analytics Unit of NBC News in conjunction with Penn’s Program on Opinion Research and Election Studies with data collection and tabulation conducted by SurveyMonkey. Analysis by the University of Pennsylvania’s Program on Opinion Research and Election Studies.

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