Reuters

Politics | Tue Nov 17, 2015 5:07pm EST

WASHINGTON | By Ginger Gibson

American voters are evenly split between Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and Democratic rival Hillary Clinton as their top choice to address the issue of terrorism following the Paris attacks, a Reuters/Ipsos poll found.

Asked to choose from the entire field of 2016 presidential hopefuls, 20 percent of 1,106 respondents surveyed between Nov. 16-17 opted for Trump. An equal share of the electorate picked Clinton.(polling.reuters.com/#!poll/TM743Y15)

Given Clinton’s background as a former secretary of state it is perhaps not surprising that she did reasonably well in the poll. However, Trump’s good showing upends an emerging narrative that the Paris shootings and suicide bombings would prompt voters to rethink their support for the real estate billionaire, who leads the field of Republican presidential candidates.

Some pollsters and political pundits had predicted that Republican voters would now gravitate toward establishment candidates like Florida Senator Marco Rubio and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who has been languishing in the polls. Both are seen as stronger on foreign policy than Trump and his main Republican rival, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, neither of whom have any experience in government and are running as Washington outsiders.

Glenn Matlosz, 71, of Audubon, New Jersey, said Trump would be the most able to address terrorism because he’s proven to be a straight talker.

“He’s telling it as it is,” said Matlosz, who describes himself as a Democrat. “He’s not mincing any words. There is no gobbledygook there. Everybody else is squawking.”

Mirroring national primary polls, Clinton and Trump also took the top marks in the Reuters/Ipsos survey when looking at just voters from their own party. Asked to pick the best Democratic candidate, 52 percent of Democrats polled selected Clinton. When Republicans were asked to choose among their potential nominees, 33 percent said Trump.

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