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Petition to Ban Trump From U.K. Is Most Popular Ever on Government Site

Over 475,000 people signed the petition after Trump said the U.S. should "shut down" Muslims entering the U.S. to protect the country from extremism.

A petition to ban Donald Trump from the United Kingdom after he controversially called for a halt to Muslims being admitted to the U.S. swelled to more than 475,000 signatures Thursday, making it the most popular petition on a government site.

The petition was started Tuesday, a day after the Republican presidential frontrunner called for a "total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States."

Trump made the comments in the wake of last week’s mass shooting in California, which was carried out by a husband and wife authorities say were radicalized. Trump said the ban was necessary to protect Americans from extremism.

As of 4:50 p.m. ET Thursday, the online petition had 475,776 signatures. NBC News' British partner ITV reported that the poll is the most popular ever on the government's site.

The British government has the power to bar people considered a threat to public safety or national security, or those with criminal convictions.

In the past, the U.K. has denied entry to figures as diverse as boxer Mike Tyson, rapper Tyler the Creator, radical Muslim preachers and the late Christian fundamentalist Fred Phelps Sr.

Trump has been criticized for the proposal, including by Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, who said the plan "is not what this party stands for and, more importantly, it's not what this country stands for."

However, a one-day online poll conducted by Bloomberg Politics/Purple Strategies PulsePoll Tuesday, 65 percent of likely Republican voters said they favor Trump’s proposal to bar Muslims who are citizens of foreign countries from entering the U.S.

But an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found that 57 percent of all adults disagreed with the proposal to bar Muslims from entering the U.S., while only 25 percent agree with it.

Among Republicans, 42 percent support Trump's proposal while 36 percent oppose it, the NBC News/WSJ poll found.