By Nick Gass
December 23, 2015
Donald Trump holds a commanding, double-digit lead over Ted Cruz and the rest of the GOP presidential field heading into 2016, according to the results of the latest CNN/ORC national poll released Wednesday.
Earning the same shares they received in last week's Fox News poll, Trump picked up 39 percent, while Cruz took 18 percent. Behind them, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio tied with 10 percent, slight decreases for both from the same survey conducted in late November and early December. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie grabbed 5 percent, followed by Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul at 4 percent, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush at 3 percent, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Ohio Gov. John Kasich at 2 percent each, and all other candidates earning 1 percent or less. Just 1 percent said they had no opinion.
Compared to late July, when just 48 percent said they would rather see one or two candidates win rather than everyone else, this time, 60 percent said they would, a notion reflected in the one-two finish of Trump and Cruz, who has gained on the Manhattan businessman in other recent state and national polling. Based on the Republican voters who said they watched the Dec. 15 debate, 33 percent said Trump won the night, while 28 percent said Cruz was the victor.
Trump also held double-digit advantages over Cruz when it came to how Republican voters saw each candidate's ability to handle some of the race's top issues: the economy (up 48 points over the Texas senator), illegal immigration (up 40 points), and the Islamic State (up 26 points).
Asked whether Republicans have a better shot of recapturing the White House with Trump or with someone else, voters were split, with 46 percent thinking the businessman had a better chance and 50 percent with another candidate. But it's another sign of strength for Trump: In the same poll conducted in mid-August, just 38 percent said he was the party's best chance, compared to 58 percent who said they would have a better chance with another candidate.
On whether Trump has the right experience to be president, 67 percent to 33 of all voters said he did not, while 57 percent to 42 percent of registered Republicans said he did. Asked whether they would be proud to have him as president, 65 percent to 34 percent of all surveyed said they would not, while 60 percent to 39 percent of Republicans said they would. And while 63 percent to 36 percent of registered Republicans said he shares their values, 62 percent to 37 percent of all voters said he did not. Voters, overall, were slightly more receptive to Cruz in expressing that he has the right experience to be president.
Rubio leads the field in terms of overall net positive favorability among all voters, up 12 points (46 percent to 34 percent), followed by Cruz, up 6 points (45 percent to 39 percent) and Carson, up 3 points (43 percent to 40 percent). Trump, meanwhile, stands at 18 points underwater among all voters, with 39 percent favorable and 57 percent unfavorable. Those numbers still represent an improvement from September and mark his lowest overall unfavorable numbers in the survey since the first time the question was asked in 2011.
The poll was conducted Dec. 17-21 via landlines and cellphones, surveying 927 voters who said they have or will register to vote, with an overall margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.The sample also includes 438 registered voters who described themselves as Republicans or as independents who lean Republican. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.
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