Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to guests during a rally at Macomb Community College on March 4, 2016 in Warren, Mich.
Photo by Scott Olson/Getty

Trump maintains significant national lead, Cruz moves into second place: poll


In the wake of Super Tuesday and Saturday’s contests, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio’s national numbers have remained relatively stable, though Cruz has moved into second place heading into a very significant period of the primary season. These results are according to the latest from the NBC News| SurveyMonkey Weekly Election Tracking Poll of 21,996 adults aged 18 and over including 19,051 who say they are registered to vote. 

Though 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney publicly called on conservative voters to buck the current GOP front-runner, new national numbers indicate that more Republican and Republican-leaning voters than ever think Trump will win the GOP nomination. In the first week of the NBC News|SurveyMonkey Election tracking poll in late December, just half of Republican and Republican-leaning voters thought Trump would be the eventual nominee. In our latest week of polling, a full three-quarters now say they think he will win the nomination. 

Over the past week, several prominent members of the GOP establishment community as well as other Republican candidates in the race have argued that many in the party have a very unfavorable view of Trump. While it is clear that Trump is viewed unfavorably by a large portion of the party elite, the more important question is what the rank and file think. We empirically analyzed this by asking respondents how they view the top three candidates in our poll. 

Among all Republican and Republican-leaning voters nationally, the favorability ratings of the current three front-runners—Trump, Cruz and Rubio—are all above 50 percent. Rubio is viewed favorably by 62 percent of Republican and Republican-leaning voters; Cruz and Trump are tied with a 58 percent favorability rating.   These numbers are close enough to suggest that the candidates’ favorability ratings are roughly similar and call into question the claim that Trump is viewed unfavorably by a majority of Republicans.    

The NBC News|SurveyMonkey Weekly Election Tracking data for the week of February 29, 2016 through March 6, 2016 was conducted online among a national sample of 21,996 adults aged 18 and over, including 19,051 who say they are registered to vote. Respondents for this survey were selected from the nearly three million people who take surveys on the SurveyMonkey platform each day. Data for this week has been weighted for age, race, sex, education, region, and voter registration status using the Census Bureau and Bureau of Labor Statistic’s Current Population Survey to reflect the demographic composition of the United States. A full description of our methodology and the poll can be found here