Businessman and former reality-television host Donald Trump remains the clear national frontrunner in the GOP nomination contest with the support 36 percent of likely primary voters, although that lead has narrowed slightly, according to a Monmouth University poll released Wednesday.
His nearest competitor, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), lagged behind at 17 percent. Cruz, in turn, held a smaller but still substantial lead over third-place contender Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) at 11 percent.
These results show a small narrowing of the gap between Trump and Cruz since the same poll in December, in which the real estate mogul beat the senator 41-14 percent. Support for Rubio increased by just 1 percent, up from 10 percent in December, allowing the gap between Cruz and Rubio to expand slightly. The January Monmouth poll is consistent with most nationwide polling, which has shown Trump maintaining a clear lead over Cruz and the other GOP candidates even as his campaign has faced a serious challenge from Cruz in Iowa.
The Monmouth University telephone poll was conducted from Jan. 15-18, surveying 385 Republicans with a margin of error of 5 percentage points.