According to a new poll insurgent billionaire candidate Donald Trump is widening his lead over the rest of the GOP contenders. The poll, which has Trump at a whopping 24 percent doesn’t take into account the Tonya Harding style kneecapping by the media over the ginned up John McCain war hero controversy that exploded over the weekend. The establishment is hoping that the drop in Trump’s favorability during the last day of the polling was reflective of waning voter sentiment over the McCain kerfuffle but that may be just whistling past the graveyard. Trump has absorbed the full fury of the smear machine and flipped it back into an attack on McCain the politician for his record of being weak on securing the border and covering up for Barack Obama during the VA hospital scandal.

As reported by the Washington Post in the article entitled “Poll: Trump Surges to Big Lead in GOP Presidential Race”:

Businessman Donald Trump surged into the lead for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, with almost twice the support of his closest rival, just as he ignited a new controversy after making disparaging remarks about Sen. John McCain’s Vietnam War service, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Support for Trump fell sharply on the one night that voters were surveyed following those comments. Telephone interviewing for the poll began Thursday, and most calls were completed before the news about the remarks was widely reported.

Although the sample size for the final day was small, the decline was statistically significant. Still, it is difficult to predict what could happen to Trump’s support in the coming days and weeks as the controversy plays out.

Even with the drop in support on the final night of the survey, Trump was the favorite of 24 percent of registered Republicans and Republican-leaning independents. That is the highest percentage and biggest lead recorded by any GOP candidate this year in Post-ABC News polls and marks a sixfold increase in his support since late May, shortly before he formally joined the race.

Time will tell whether Trump’s comments about McCain – which were to some degree distorted in order to make it look like he had manned the ropes during the young POW’s return from Vietnam and actually spit on him – will have a lasting effect. My guess is no, at least not with those who already support him out of disgust with the status quo, in fact the attacks on the Donald may end up making him stronger in the long run. A lot of Americans are still outraged over how they were sold out by the big talking GOP leaders Mitch McConnell and John Boehner after that huge victory at the polls last November. Energized conservatives turned out in droves in what was promoted as a referendum on Obama but once the votes were counted Boehner and McConnell assumed their positions as Barry’s lapdogs. People don’t forget such betrayals and a good many are turning to Trump because he is not a career politician.

There will probably be a dip in the next poll given the ferocity of the media swarm attack but it is going to be difficult to sustain the blaspheming McCain narrative. This is especially so now that the same media that went after Trump is starting to ask questions about how “Jeb!” and Rick Perry could be so outraged over Trump’s McCain comments when they supported the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ads that ran against veteran John Kerry back in 2004. Consider also that McCain, at least to a lot of folks isn’t exactly the cherished national hero that he is so often made out to be by the media, this is a frog that has plenty of warts and is a very imperfect martyr. Besides, it was McCain who started it all in the first place by insulting conservatives as “crazies” – the media conveniently leaves that detail out but who really cares about context when it comes to propaganda.

Trump’s defiance will continue to grab headlines and once he moves onto another real issue he will have escaped what appears to have been a carefully planned ambush – the response was too rapid and intense to have been spontaneous. Those who already hate Trump for his bullying loudmouthed persona will continue to denounce him as will the establishment who are mortified that a guy like that can just waltz in and steal the show.