FARMINGTON, N.H. — Surging Republican front-runner Donald Trump continued to mock Ted Cruz — “he could run right now for prime minister of Canada” — and focused on urging his Granite State supporters to turn out to the polls during a rally here last night.
“This is crunch time now, right?” Trump said in the first few minutes at a packed gymnasium of about 1,000 people with others turned away. “It’s so important, we have to bring it home. We have to have a mandate. We have to do well. We have to get big numbers. … Together, we’re unified.”
Trump continues to hold big leads nationally and in New Hampshire and is slightly ahead of Cruz in Iowa.
But a looming question mark is whether his supporters — many of whom don’t typically vote — will turn out to the polls a week from today.
“It makes us all feel good, but we have to get that vote,” Trump said of the polls. “Who knows? I’ve seen bad things happen in life. … In one way those polls have gotten so crazy, so positive, I hate to tell them to you because you have to go out.”
Trump’s appearance came just hours after the results of a new Franklin Pierce University/Boston Herald poll of New Hampshire voters showed him with some of the best numbers of his campaign.
He now has the highest level of support (33 percent) and the largest lead (19 points over second-place Ted Cruz) in the poll ever.
“In New Hampshire, Trump 33,” said Trump, reading the results of the poll to the crowd. “Then Cruz, then Kasich and — oh boy — poor Bush! What is he doing? What is he doing? Such a waste of money, isn’t it? What is he doing that for?”
Trump’s 58 percent favorability rating in the poll is not only his highest ever, it’s larger than anyone else in the pack.
Some 55 percent now believe Trump will be the party’s nominee — up from 38 percent just a month ago.
Sixty-five percent of Republicans now say they could imagine voting for Trump in the general election if he’s the GOP nominee.
Brad Chandler, a New Hampshire resident who has only voted in one previous presidential election, said he’ll definitely turn out to back Trump next month and thinks others like him will do the same.
“Like he said, we have to take the country back,” said Chandler, wearing a Trump shirt and a hat that read: “Gun control? Use both hands.”
Trump got a rock star reception here last night, including one woman who yelled out “I love you!” in the opening minutes.
“I love you, too,” Trump replied.
He also continued raising the possibility that citizenship lawsuits could hurt Cruz.
“The man from Canada,” said Trump, repeating a line a supporter shouted out. “He could run right now for prime minister of Canada, you never know. But he does have a problem. Does everyone agree with me on this?”
Trump will hold back-to-back rallies in Iowa today, then head to South Carolina on Wednesday. He plans Granite State rallies in Nashua on Friday and Milford next Tuesday, the day after the Iowa caucuses.
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