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Americans like Muslims more than they like Donald Trump

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at the Republican Jewish Coalition Presidential Forum in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Donald Trump insisted to CNN's Don Lemon on Thursday that people supported his proposed ban on allowing Muslims to enter the country. Not only do "the people" agree with him, Trump told Lemon, but "[m]any Muslim friends of mine are in agreement with me. They say, 'Donald, you brought something up to the fore that is so brilliant and so fantastic.'"

On Thursday, a poll from NBC News and the Wall Street Journal was released that might undermine Trump's confidence about the level of support that proposal enjoys -- if anything can undermine Trump's confidence on anything.

Overall, 57 percent of Americans disagreed with Trump's proposal, as it was articulated by the pollster. Only a quarter viewed it favorably.

The language of the question there matters. First of all, it doesn't mention the qualification Trump applied to his proposed ban, which was that it would only be in effect until "our country's representatives can figure out what is going on." The ban is temporary, in other words, or, if you prefer, indefinite. That might make a difference in how people see it.

Second, the poll question mentions Trump by name. We've seen in the past that including the name of a politician -- say, President Obama -- can shift poll results, but it was probably hard to avoid here.

Unsurprisingly, it's Republicans who are least opposed to Trump's proposal.

Going a level deeper, though, the poll reveals something else interesting: Americans generally view Muslims more positively than they do Trump himself.

Granted, the number of people who view Muslims very positively isn't huge, but, then, neither is the number of people who view Trump that way. The questions are different in each case, but while nearly 60 percent of Americans view Muslims somewhat positively, about that same percentage views Trump negatively.

For establishment Republicans peeking in at this poll nervously, one other bit of good news: Trump's comments about Muslims are seen as being distinct from the views of the Republican party -- even more so than his past comments about Mexican immigrants. It's early, and a lot of people haven't formed an opinion yet, but it seems as though the Democrats' attempts to loop all Republicans together with Trump hasn't worked yet.

Trump's rhetoric on this is unlikely to change, of course. Even if he didn't have a habit of cherry-picking polls, which he does, he tends to embrace a worldview in which he's approved of regardless of what he does.

Even by his Muslim friends.

Watch: People can't condemn Trump's "ban Muslims" comment fast enough. (Video: Gillian Brockell/The Washington Post, Photo: Susan Walsh/The Washington Post)