Thursday, January 28, 2016

Poll Shows Donald Trump Solidifying Lead in Three Early States

At WSJ, "Donald Trump Solidifies Lead Over GOP Rivals in First States to Vote":
Donald Trump is dominating the GOP presidential field in the first three states to vote in the 2016 campaign, including in Iowa where he has extinguished the lead once held by Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist Poll finds.

In New Hampshire and South Carolina, Mr. Trump leads by double-digit margins. In all three states he is the first choice of more than 30% of people likely to vote in the Republican primaries or caucuses.

“Trump is positioned to run the house in these first three states,” said Lee M. Miringoff,director of the Marist College Institute of Public Opinion. “His supporters are committed and plan to turn out.”

The poll suggests Mr. Cruz will be his strongest competitor even if the senator has lost ground in Iowa. Mr. Cruz now stands in second place in all three states including New Hampshire, a place that doesn’t typically favor Republicans with his kind of conservative profile.

Among Democrats, the poll points to a roller-coaster ride through the three early-voting states. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont remain deadlocked in Iowa; Mr. Sanders has opened a commanding 57%-38% lead in New Hampshire; in South Carolina, Mrs. Clinton enjoys an even wider 64%-27% spread.

The polls demonstrate that Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton remain their party’s front-runners. While Mrs. Clinton has a rougher road than Mr. Trump in Iowa and New Hampshire, South Carolina gives her a “firewall,” Mr. Miringoff said.

The Iowa poll found, with less than a week before Monday’s caucuses, that Mr. Trump is the leading Mr. Cruz by 32%-25%, after weeks of pummeling his rival by questioning the Canadian-born senator’s eligibility to be president, his personality and character. Earlier this month, Mr. Cruz had led 28%-24% in Iowa, the state that represents his best shot to block the billionaire businessman.

What’s more, the poll found that Mr. Trump has inspired deep support: three-quarters of Trump backers in Iowa say they are strongly committed to their choice of candidate, compared with only 58% of Cruz supporters. Similar gaps show up among voters in New Hampshire and South Carolina.

Showing quiet improvement in Iowa is Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida who came in third with 18%—a five-point improvement over the early January poll. But he has slipped in New Hampshire, and dropped behind Mr. Cruz to third place. In the Granite State, Mr. Trump leads with 31%, to Mr. Cruz’s 12% and Mr. Rubio’s 11%. The South Carolina poll finds the same three candidates topping the GOP field.

Among Democrats, the Iowa poll is little changed from the neck-and-neck finish found earlier this month. Mrs. Clinton drew 48% to Mr. Sanders’s 45%. Former Maryland Gov.Martin O’Malley, remains in the low single digits in all three states...
More at NBC News, "Trump Strong in Early States as Clinton, Sanders Battle: Poll."

And at Marist, "1/28: Trump Leads in IA, NH, and SC… Clinton and Sanders Competitive in IA, Sanders up in NH, Clinton Leads in SC."