Former reality-television host Donald Trump has a wide lead in the New Hampshire Republican primary, according to an NBC/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll released Thursday, while Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) contend closely for second place.
The poll showed support for Trump at 30 percent, a substantial lead over Rubio, who came in second at 17 percent. Rubio was followed, much more closely, by Cruz at 15 percent. This indicates a stable lead for Trump, who took 31 percent in the same poll last week. The competition for second place, however, is close and dynamic: Rubio has pulled ahead since last week, when he stood at 11 percent compared to Cruz’ 12.
This poll, coming in the aftermath of Cruz’ upset win in the Iowa caucus, suggests that the race for second place has begun to correspond to the contest, evident in most nationwide polling, between Rubio and Cruz. It is consistent with nearly all New Hampshire polling in showing a comfortable lead for Trump that seems unmenaced by his loss in Iowa. Most polling before the Iowa caucuses included a wide range of contenders including Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R), who stood at 10 percent in this poll, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R), who stood at 9 percent; these seem to have fallen further behind in post-Iowa polling, leaving Rubio and Cruz to duel for the spot.
TPM’s PollTracker average shows Trump leading the field at 32.1 percent, with Cruz and Rubio almost tied at 13.1 and 12.9 percent respectively.
The NBC/WSJ/Marist poll was carried out from Feb. 2-3. Pollsters surveyed 653 likely Republican voters by live phone interview, with a margin of error of 3.8 percentage points.
This post has been updated.