Real-estate billionaire Donald Trump has a wide lead over other contenders for the Republican nomination in seven southern states, according to a Bloomberg poll released Thursday.
The poll showed Trump far in the lead with 37 percent support, while runners-up Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) were tied at 20 percent. The remaining three candidates languished in single digits.
The online poll surveyed voters in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia, which collectively constitute the so-called “SEC primary,” a reference to the college football conference. Voters in those Southern states will head to the polls on Super Tuesday.
The poll suggested that those respondents who didn’t already support Trump are reluctant to do so, however, even if their first-choice candidates drop out. Trump was the second choice of only 13 percent of respondents, compared to 19 percent for Cruz and 22 percent for Rubio.
The Bloomberg poll was carried out from Feb. 22-24. Pollsters surveyed 1254 likely Republican voters in the seven southern states that go to the polls Tuesday, with a margin of error of 2.8 percentage points.