The Trump implosion doesn't seem to be happening, yet.
A new NBC News-Survey Monkey poll shows Donald Trump remaining as the leading Republican presidential candidate after Thursday night's first debate of the election cycle. The 24 hour online poll was entirely post-debate, conducted Friday evening into Saturday while Trump found himself in yet another round of controversy for his sexists attacks on Fox News host and debate co-moderate Megyn Kelly, but saw The Donald holding on to his commanding and consistent lead over his Republican rivals with the support of 23 percent of Republican voters. In the same poll, pre-debate, Trump led with 22 percent support.
Trump's nearest competitor in the poll is Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who has risen seven points since the last poll to capture the support of 13 percent of Republican voters after his debate performance followed by Ben Carson at 11 percent and Marco Rubio and Carly Fiorina tied at 8 percent. The same poll found that Fiorina, the former CEO of Hewlett Packard, was considered the winner of the Fox News debate by 22 percent of respondents. Fiorina wasn't even in the main 9 p.m. event; instead, she was relegated to the 5 p.m. "undercard" debate for the bottom seven GOP candidates. But her strong debate reviews could catapult her to contention, as the latest poll suggests.
Trump's answer to the first debate question posed by co-moderator Bret Baier regarding a potential third party run doesn't appear to have harmed his standing among Republican supporters. A majority of Trump supporters – 54 percent – said they would vote for him for president as an independent candidate, even if he does not win the Republican nomination.
The billionaire real-estate mogul quickly rose of the top of the crowded GOP field shortly after his infamous campaign kick-off (think Mexican "rapists") and has only risen in the polls as his campaign has been mired in near daily controversies.