Business Mogul Making Inroads With People Who Say They Like Brutal Honesty

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Presidential candidate Donald Trump has told the Federal Election Commission that he’s worth $10 billion, though Forbes estimates he’s worth more like $4 billion.

Controversy seems to suit the man whose shirts and ties are no longer sold at Macy’s.

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A new poll puts him in the lead among the large group of Republican candidates, CBS2’s Dave Carlin reported Wednesday.

Many voters hunger for a candidate who they believe tells it like it is. Trump is outspoken and he’s surging in the polls.

He’s direct. He’s brash. And he’ll also tell you he’s often misunderstood.

But there’s no denying that in recent days he’s been on the rise just like one of his Manhattan towers.

In the latest poll from Suffolk University in Boston, Trump leads the pack of 15 Republicans vying for the White House in 2016. Trump has 17 percent of the respondents, followed by Jeb Bush with 14 percent.

People on the streets of New York offered wide-ranging opinions on Trump.

“He seems very honest about what he talks about and it makes people talk and listen, so go for it” Upper West Side resident Kristina Raissnen said.

“I’m not a fan,” another person said.

“I don’t think he’s really cut out for politics,” another added.

“I mean he’s an OK businessman. He should stick with that,” a woman said.

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Public relations and crisis management expert Richard Auletta said he’s not surprised by Trump’s surge, calling him a political bomb-thrower who benefits every time he makes headlines, regardless if they are positive or negative.

“Donald Trump is ahead in the polls supposedly, so he’s doing something right right now,” Auletta said. “He’s got a big mouth and his voice travels.”

Like when he accused Mexico of sending the “worst people” to the United States.

“They send people through that they don’t want,” Trump said.

The backlash lost him business, but seems to have gained him some new followers.

One thing about having Trump in the race and in the debates is he forces the other candidates to prep more, because anything can happen, Carlin reported.

“I think he’s going to dominate them. Nobody is going to get a word in edgewise,” Auletta said of potential debates.

Will Trump’s early front-runner status among Republicans last? Or will voters eventually signal to the Donald that he’s been fired?

“I think he has a lot of good ideas that he’s addressing. However, I don’t know if he’s tactful enough in the way he’s doing it,” said Martin Rogers of Akron, Ohio.

“I’m not sold yet,” added Stewart Krosby of Houston, Texas.

“It’s very early. This time eight years ago, I think (Rudy) Giuliani was still the front-runner for the Republican nomination,” Auletta said.

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Trump’s on top now, but Republicans who can say they’ve been there done that include Giuliani, Michelle Bachmann and Herman Cain, all front-runners who faded in previous campaigns, Carlin reported.