Donald Trump's Lead Widens Over Ted Cruz In Latest National Poll

GOP Presidential Poll Chart

UPDATE: Trump Surges To 2-1 Lead, Clinton and Sanders Tied In Latest Poll

Donald Trump's lead has widened considerably against all other Republican Presidential Nominee candidates, according to a recent national poll conducted by Monmouth University.

Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) is slightly ahead of retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson and Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) in the second tier, while all other GOP nomination hopefuls trail well below 5 percent. The poll also finds, however, that Republican voters other than Trump or Cruz supporters feel the frontrunner does not have the right temperament to be president.

When Republicans and Republican-leaning voters were asked who they would support for the GOP nomination for president, Trump leads the pack at 41%. Cruz (14%), Rubio (10%), and Carson (9%) fall far behind. All of the other ten candidates tested poll in the low single digits, including former Florida Governor Jeb Bush (3%), Ohio Governor John Kasich (3%), New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (2%), former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina (2%), former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee (2%), and Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) (2%). All but Huckabee have been invited to the main stage for  Tuesday night's Republican Presidential Debate on CNN.

The results represent a big jump in Trump’s support and a rearrangement of the deck chairs in the second tier. After polling between 26% and 30% in Monmouth polls throughout the late summer and fall, Trump’s showing has increased by 13 points from his 28% result in mid-October. Cruz and Rubio have each gained 4 points over the same period, while Carson’s support has dropped by 9 points.

“It has become abundantly clear that Trump is giving his supporters exactly what they want, even if what he says causes the GOP leadership and many Republican voters to cringe” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, NJ.

While nearly 2-in-3 (65%) voters overall agree that Trump has the temperament to take on the role of president, there are significant differences in this view among the GOP electorate. More than 9-in- 10 (94%) Trump supporters say he has the right temperament. Cruz voters are more likely to have a positive (52%) rather than negative (43%) opinion of Trump’s demeanor. Among all other Republican voters, though, 55% say Trump’s temperament is not a good fit for the presidency compared to 43% who feel it is.

Overall, 30% of Republicans would be enthusiastic if Trump won the nomination and another 37% would be satisfied. Just 12% would be dissatisfied and another 16% would actually be upset. Putting Trump’s supporter’s aside, most Cruz voters (63%) would be okay with Trump as the party’s standard-bearer. Among all other Republican voters, however, just 40% feel the same while most say they would be either dissatisfied (24%) or upset (29%) if Trump was the GOP nominee.

Trump’s support comes from a wide variety of GOP voter groups, especially from those who have never attended college. Trump commands the support of a majority (54%) of Republican voters with a high school education – 13 points higher than his overall support levels. He also does somewhat better among men (44%) than women (37%), but draws very similar levels of support from very conservative (41%), somewhat conservative (45%), and moderate (40%) voters.

Trump does better among strong tea party supporters (52%), but this is a group where Cruz also outperforms his overall standing by garnering 29% support, which is 15 points higher than his support among all GOP voters. Cruz also performs well among very conservative voters (26%).

“Trump voters may skew toward a lower educational level, but it’s important to keep in mind that he draws support from significant segments of every voting bloc. You simply can’t pigeonhole his supporters as representing one or two particular factions of the party,” said Murray.

Trump’s personal rating has also improved in the past two months. It now stands at 61% favorable and 29% unfavorable, compared to 52% – 33% in October. The current results represent an alltime high for Trump’s rating according to the Monmouth University Poll. Cruz stands at 58% favorable and 18% unfavorable, up slightly from 50% – 23% in October. Rubio earns a similar 55% favorable – 18% unfavorable rating, up from 49% – 16% two months ago. Carson’s rating remains high at 57% – 25%, but this is down from his 65% – 11% standing in October.

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