Billionaire businessman Donald Trump has widened his lead over the Republican presidential field to 15 points in a Suffolk/USA Today national poll released Wednesday, while Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) established a small lead in the contest for second place over Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL).
The poll showed support for Trump at 35 percent, while Cruz came in at 20 percent and Rubio at 17 percent. No other candidates registered double-digit support. This represents a gain for Trump since the previous Suffolk/USA Today poll was taken in December, which showed Trump at 27 percent, Cruz at 17 percent and Rubio at 16 percent.
It is also consistent with most national polling, which virtually always shows Trump enjoying a wide lead. National polls have no consensus on the competition between Cruz and Rubio for second place, however. Some show a neck-and-neck race while others suggest Cruz enjoys a small-to-moderate advantage.
TPM’s PollTracker Average shows Trump at 34.2 percent of support, Cruz at 21.7 percent and Rubio at 17.2 percent.
The Suffolk/USA Today poll was carried out by live telephone interviews from Feb. 11-15, with a population sample of 358 likely Republican voters, with a margin of error of 5.2 percentage points.