NEW YORK - A majority of likely Republican voters now think that billionaire businessman Donald Trump will likely be the Republican presidential nominee, a new poll shows.

According to a new Rasmussen poll out on Friday, 57 percent of likely Republican voters now think Trump is likely to be the party's nominee. That includes 25 percent of voters who say it’s "very likely" he'll win the nomination.

As Rasmussen notes, that's up significantly from the 27 percent in July who thought it likely that Trump would be the nominee. The real-estate magnate has defied expectations and maintained his front-runner status in the polls despite numerous controversies and few concrete policy proposals.

Since jumping to the front of the pack in July, Trump has consistently received more than 20 percent of the Republican vote nationally, with a Real Clear Politics average of 22 percent in recent polling. The next-closest Republican candidate is former Florida Govenor Jeb Bush , who has averaged about 10.7 percent of the vote recently.

With the first primary contests and caucuses are still months away, Trump  has run away with media coverage since his entry into the race.Notably, this poll shows who voters expect to be the nominee, not who voters want to be the nominee, which could be a result of the massive amount of media coverage surrounding his candidacy. A CNN poll released earlier this month found that 58% of Republican voters thought the party have a better chance of winning a general election with "someone else" as the nominee, compared with the 38 percent who favoured Trump. But the Rasmussen poll isn't the first indicator that Republican voters are taking Trump seriously. According to a different CNN/ORC poll released on earlier this month, 37% of likely Republican caucus-goers in Iowa responded that Trump would handle the economy better than any other Republican candidate.

The next-closest contender is former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, who takes home just 10 percent of the likely voters. He has similar advantages nationally with Republican voters on dealing with the economy, immigration, and the extremist group ISIS.