Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump and Jeb Bush participate in the first Republican presidential debate at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland on Aug. 6, 2015.(Photo: Andrew Harnik, AP)

DES MOINES — Donald Trump’s appeal cuts across several of the Republican Party’s various and often divergent factions, attracting pluralities of both tea party and establishment voters to his candidacy.
That surprising development, revealed in the latest Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics Iowa Poll, helps explain his lead in the race for Iowa’s first-in-the-nation presidential caucuses.
The billionaire businessman and media personality is the top choice for 30% of Iowa Republicans who identify with the tea party movement, 30% of business-oriented establishment Republicans and 16% of Christian conservatives.
“To a certain extent, it seems people see in Trump what they want to see,” said J. Ann Selzer, the pollster for the Register/Bloomberg poll. “He’s thin on issue positions on purpose. Tea party supporters see him as anti-establishment. Business-oriented people see him the consummate businessman. And Christian conservatives see him as a man who says the Bible is his favorite book — even ahead of his bestselling Art of the Deal.”

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Overall, 23% of likely Republican caucus attendees call Trump their No. 1 choice, putting him 5 percentage points ahead of second-place Ben Carson.
And on top of that, his popularity among Republican activists appears to be surging: 61% of respondents report favorable feelings about him. That’s a 34-percentage-point spike since the last Iowa Poll in May, and it moves his popularity into positive territory after months underwater.

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Several poll respondents said they appreciate Trump’s status as a political outsider and his ability to force the discussion on difficult or impolitic issues.
“He’s not a career politician, he’s a businessman, and my God, the way things are going in this country I think it’d be great to have a businessman in the presidency,” said poll respondent Jon Glahn, 75, of Camanche.
Julie Roe, 47, of Eldora is a Christian conservative who calls former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz her top choices. But she, too, sees Trump as a positive force in the race.

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“I kind of like the way he has emboldened the rest of the Republican field,” she said. “These other candidates tend to follow the same line of thinking …Read More