Cleveland (US): Republican presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump popularity continues to grow despite the fact that he shot to fame for all the wrong reasons.
In a significant jump in support for Trump in the past one year, a latest survey has found that as many as 88 per cent of the Republican voters support the billionaire against his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton in US presidential elections.
Pew Research Centre said when it had asked Republican voters their preference for the Republican presidential candidates in March 2015, just one per cent of them supported Trump.
"Thirteen months later, Trump was the first choice of 44 per cent of Republican and Republican-leaning Republican voters, more than any of his rivals. Today, as the Republican convention begins in Cleveland, 88 per cent of these voters back him in the general election against Hillary Clinton," Pew said.
At an overall level, Trump's rise may appear linear - his support increased in the aggregate with each survey over the course of the primary - but in actuality, voters' preferences over this period were remarkably fluid, it said.
According to Pew, even most Republican voters - 79 per cent - who did not support Trump through the primaries are backing him in the general election against Clinton.
However, only 53 per cent of these Trump "skeptics" say they are "certain" they will support Trump over Clinton; that compares with 91 per cent of those who consistently supported Trump between December and April.
"These Trump "skeptics" were more likely to be better educated and more religiously observant than GOP (Republican) voters who backed him consistently throughout this period," it said.
Pew said that by April, even as Trump moved toward an insurmountable delegate lead, he was not the first choice of more than half of Republican voters, and 44 per cent did not support him in any of the three surveys between December and March.
With PTI Inputs