Donald Trump claims he could "shoot somebody" in New York and still not lose voters

The latest national poll has shown the billionaire maintains a major lead in the Republican campaign

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Image: Mary Altaffer / AP/Press Association Images

Donald Trump has claimed he could shoot somebody in the middle of a New York street and not lose any voters.

The billionaire and Republican hopeful, speaking at an event in Iowa, said, "I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters".

Ted Cruz, seen to be Mr Trump's main rival in the bid for the Republican candidacy, lightheartedly responded to Trump's remarks, telling reporters that he has "no intention of shooting anybody in this campaign".

The latest national poll carried out by Reuters-Ipsos in the US has indicated that Mr Trump has a major lead in the Republican campaign with 40.6% support - compared to only 10.5% for Senator Cruz.

However, other polls have shown different results, with a CNN/ORC showing a narrower gap in Iowa (with Trump at 37% support to 26% for Cruz).

In the Democratic field, the most recent Reuters-Ipsos figures show Hillary Clinton maintaining a significant lead over Bernie Sanders, with 55.4% support compared to 35.5% for Sanders.

As the battle for the Republican and Democratic candidacies continue, billionaire and former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg is reportedly considering a presidential run as an independent candidate.