Trump’s Lead Grows with Jeb Out of the Race
Tuesday, February 23, 2016
With Jeb Bush out, Donald Trump has widened his lead in the race for the Republican presidential nomination.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of Likely Republican Voters finds Trump with 36% support, giving him a 15-point lead over Senator Marco Rubio who earns 21% of the vote. Senator Ted Cruz is in third place with 17%.
For Trump, that’s a five-point gain in support from the beginning of this month just after the Iowa caucus and right before the New Hampshire primary when it was Trump 31%, Rubio 21% and Cruz 20% among likely GOP voters. Rubio’s support has held steady, while support for Cruz has fallen slightly.
In mid-December, Trump led with 29% Republican support, with Cruz in second with 18% and Rubio at 15%.
In the latest survey taken on the two nights immediately following Trump’s big win in the South Carolina primary, Ohio Governor John Kasich picks up 12% of the GOP vote, up from six percent (6%) three weeks ago, while Dr. Ben Carson runs last with eight percent (8%) support. Carson has gained three points from earlier this month. Three percent (3%) like some other candidate, and four percent (4%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
Bush had four percent (4%) support in the previous survey, but it’s unclear which candidate has gained most from his departure from the race since both Trump and Kasich have experienced similar jumps in support.
Seventy-one percent (71%) of Republican voters now favor building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, and among these voters Trump holds a commanding 43% lead, with Rubio end Cruz earning 18% and 19% of that vote respectively.
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The national telephone survey of 697 Likely Republican Primary Voters was conducted by Rasmussen Reports on February 21-22, 2016. The margin of sampling error for the survey is +/- 4 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Fieldwork for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.
Rasmussen Reports’ latest weekly Trump Change survey, released the day before Saturday’s South Carolina primary, found that 71% of Republicans believe Trump is likely to win the GOP nomination, with 36% who say it is Very Likely. We will update those numbers on Friday.
The order of the candidates is Trump, Rubio and Cruz among Republicans of all ages, but Trump runs strongest among those under 40.
The billionaire businessman has a two-to-one lead over Rubio among male GOP primary voters. He leads the Florida senator among women Republicans as well but by a narrower seven-point margin.
Trump leads Rubio 33% to 21% among likely primary voters who identify as Republicans. Among independents who say they plan to vote in the GOP primary in their state, Trump posts a 44% to 19% lead over Rubio.
Trump also leads among likely GOP primary voters of all ideological persuasions. Rubio and Cruz are nearly tied among conservatives for second place, but Kasich is the clear second place choice among moderates and liberals.
Hillary Clinton is still seen by most Democrats as likely to win their party’s presidential nomination.
When it comes to which candidate voters trust more on key issues, Trump leads when it comes to the economy, job creation and immigration. Clinton has held her lead on social issues but has widened her advantage on the environment. The two are virtually tied now when voters are asked whom they trust more to handle national security.
Republican voters are more likely to consider Trump a moderate than a conservative.
Bush was counting on an appearance by his brother, former President George W. Bush, to boost his chances in the South Carolina primary. In response, Trump stepped up his criticism of former President Bush and the Iraq war. Just 34% of Republicans now consider it a positive description if a candidate is described as being like George W. Bush, down from 48% in April of last year.
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