- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump has opened up a 21-point lead over his nearest GOP competitor, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, in a national poll on the 2016 GOP field released Wednesday.

Mr. Trump was at 39 percent in the CNN/ORC poll, followed by Mr. Cruz at 18 percent and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida at 10 percent apiece.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was at 5 percent, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky was at 4 percent, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush was at 3 percent, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Ohio Gov. John Kasich were at 2 percent each, and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina was at 1 percent.

In a CNN/ORC poll taken in late November and early December, Mr. Trump had been at 36 percent, followed by Mr. Cruz at 16 percent, Mr. Carson at 14 percent and Mr. Rubio at 12 percent.

In the new poll, Mr. Trump was also judged the winner of last week’s Republican debate by 33 percent of Republicans and GOP-leaning independents who said they watched, followed by Mr. Cruz at 28 percent and Mr. Rubio at 13 percent.



By wide margins, Republican and GOP-leaning respondents also said Mr. Trump was the candidate who can best handle the economy, illegal immigration, and the Islamic State terrorist group.

More in the party now say Mr. Trump gives them the best chance to win the general election. Forty-six percent said Republicans have a better chance of winning the presidency with Mr. Trump as the nominee, compared to 50 percent who said they have a better chance with someone else.

But in August, just 38 percent said Mr. Trump gave them the best chance to win, compared to 58 percent who said someone else.

Views about the billionaire businessman differ between registered voters overall and Republican voters. Two-thirds of overall voters said he does not have the right experience to be president, while 57 percent of Republicans said he does.

Nearly two-thirds of voters overall said Mr. Trump is not someone they would be proud to have as president; 60 percent of Republicans say he is someone they would be proud to have in the White House.

Sixty-two percent of voters overall said he is not someone who shares their values, while 63 percent of Republicans said he is someone who shares their values.

Mr. Cruz and Mr. Rubio had similar splits between Republican voters and voters overall.

Among all Americans, Mr. Trump had a 39 percent favorability rating, with 57 percent having an unfavorable opinion. That’s a bit of an improvement from a poll taken in September, when he had a 31 percent/59 percent favorable/unfavorable split.

But among Republicans, Mr. Trump had a positive 72 percent/27 percent favorable/unfavorable split.

Mr. Cruz had a 45 percent/39 percent favorable/unfavorable split overall and a 74 percent/19 percent split among Republicans.

Mr. Rubio had a 46 percent/34 percent split overall and a 73 percent/15 percent split among Republicans.

Mr. Carson had a 43 percent/40 percent split overall and a 66 percent/24 percent split among Republicans.

Mr. Bush had a negative 34 percent/57 percent split overall and a 42 percent/54 percent split among Republicans.

Mr. Christie had a 37 percent/46 percent split overall, but a positive 53 percent/37 percent split among Republicans.

Mr. Kasich had a 22 percent/31 percent split overall and 26 percent/40 percent split among Republicans.

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