Former reality-television host Donald Trump has rocketed into a lead of 20 points in the Republican contest for North Carolina, while support for Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) has diminished to single digits and fallen well behind the rest of the field, according to a High Point University/SurveyUSA poll released Friday.
The poll shows support for Trump at 48 percent, followed by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) at 28 percent. Ohio Gov. John Kasich stood at 12 percent of support, while Rubio took last place at 8 percent. This indicates a precipitous drop since High Point University’s previous survey from early February, which showed Trump enjoying only a slight advantage over Cruz and Rubio. In the previous poll Trump was at 26 percent, Cruz 22 percent and Rubio 20 percent.
Similarly, most other polling in the state has shown Trump in the lead and Rubio struggling to keep up with Cruz in the two senators’ long-running duel for second place, but this poll constitutes a dramatic culmination of both trends. These results come as Rubio, looking down the barrel of a possibly lethal defeat to Trump in his home state of Florida, has floundered while Trump has moved to consolidate his position as frontrunner.
In light of this survey, TPM’s PollTracker Average in the state shows Trump leading at 44.2 percent, followed by Cruz at 27.5 percent, Kasich at 11.7 percent and Rubio at 9.5 percent.
The High Point University/SurveyUSA poll was carried out from March 9-10 by live telephone interview. Pollsters surveyed 734 people likely to vote in the Republican primary, with a margin of error of 3.7 percent.