Billionaire real-estate magnate Donald Trump has expanded his lead over his Republican presidential rivals to 17 points in South Carolina, according to a survey released Tuesday by the Democratic-leaning firm Public Policy Polling. It’s the first poll fielded in the state since Saturday’s GOP debate.
The poll showed support for Trump at 35 percent, while Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) tied for second at 18 percent. Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) followed in third place at 10 percent.
The poll reflects the substantial changes in the Republican field since the previous PPP poll of the state in November, which showed Trump at 25 percent, former neurosurgeon Ben Carson at 21 percent, Cruz at 15 percent and Rubio at 13 percent.
The latest poll suggests that South Carolina voters largely agree with the assessment of Republican voters nationwide, who have consistently given Trump a clear first-place lead while Cruz and Rubio have dueled for second place and enjoyed a comfortable lead over the remaining candidates.
TPM’s PollTracker Average shows Trump in the lead in South Carolina at 42.1 percent, followed by Cruz at 19.5 percent, Rubio at 15.2 percent and Kasich at 8.3 percent.
The PPP poll surveyed 897 likely Republican voters from Feb. 14-15, with a margin of error of 3.3 percentage points.