- The Washington Times - Friday, February 19, 2016

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is the front-runner heading into the GOP presidential primary contest in South Carolina on Saturday, but Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas has cut what had been a 16-point lead for the billionaire businessman down to 5 points in a new poll.

Mr. Trump was at 28 percent support in the NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist polling released Friday, followed by Mr. Cruz at 23 percent, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida at 15 percent, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush at 13 percent, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson at 9 percent apiece.

In a January poll taken before Iowa and New Hampshire, Mr. Trump had held a 16-point lead over Mr. Cruz, 36 percent to 20 percent, with Mr. Rubio at 14 percent and Mr. Bush at 9 percent.

A national NBC/WSJ poll released earlier this week showed Mr. Cruz narrowly overtaking Mr. Trump for the lead, 28 percent to 26 percent, though Mr. Trump still has double-digit leads in the latest RealClearPolitics averages on the national GOP race and in South Carolina.

On the Democratic side in the new poll on South Carolina, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had a nearly 2-to-1 lead over Sen. Bernard Sanders of Vermont, 60 percent to 32 percent. That’s down a bit from the 64 percent to 27 percent advantage Mrs. Clinton had last month.

The South Carolina Democratic primary will be held on Feb. 27.

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