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Latest polls reinforce Republican Party's challenges

Republicans have about six days to derail Trump's candidacy. New polls suggest that's a daunting challenge.
GOP Presidential Candidates Debate In Detroit (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty)
Republican presidential candidates (Lto R) Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Donald Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, participate in a debate on March 3, 2016 in Detroit, Mich.
After Donald Trump did well in the Super Tuesday contests, there was a general consensus about the road ahead: If anyone in the Republican Party intended to derail the GOP frontrunner, they'd have two weeks to get the job done.
So far, those efforts have fared poorly. Since March 1, Trump has posted victories in Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, and Hawaii. He hasn't completely dominated -- Ted Cruz has won three more contests and Marco Rubio won Puerto Rico -- but the New York Republican has reason to be optimistic.
All of which sets the stage for the next round of contests, now just six days away, when five big states -- Florida, Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina, and Ohio -- will be home to a mini-Super Tuesday of sorts, with 367 delegates on the line for Republicans.
Quite a bit can happen in six days, but some new polling offers hints about what to expect. Here, for example, are the results of a new Quinnipiac poll of Ohio Republicans:
1. Donald Trump: 38%
2. John Kasich: 32%
3. Ted Cruz: 16%
4. Marco Rubio: 9%
A new CNN poll points in a similar direction:
1. Donald Trump: 41%
2. John Kasich: 35%
3. Ted Cruz: 15%
4. Marco Rubio: 7%
A PPP poll released on Monday added, "Trump leads with 38% to 35% for Kasich, 15% for Ted Cruz, and just 5% for Marco Rubio."
Note, Kasich, Ohio's governor, is counting on a win in his home state to stay in the race. These results suggest he's close, but still trailing.
In Florida, meanwhile, the new Quinnipiac poll shows a primary race shaping up this way:
1. Donald Trump: 45%
2. Marco Rubio: 22%
3. Ted Cruz: 18%
4. John Kasich: 8%
CNN's poll points in a very similar direction:
1. Donald Trump: 40%
2. Marco Rubio: 24%
3. Ted Cruz: 19%
4. John Kasich: 5%
These are out of step with a Monmouth University poll released this week showing Trump's Florida lead shrinking to just 8 points, but overall polling averages suggest the Republican frontrunner is, at least for now, holding onto a double-digit advantage in the Sunshine State.
To be sure, the contests in Illinois, Missouri, and North Carolina also matter, but there's hardly any recent polling available in these states.
As for the national picture, a national NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll was released yesterday, and it showed a rather competitive Republican race: Trump leads Cruz in the survey by just a few points, 30% to 27%, with Kasich third at 22%, and Rubio last with 20%. A month ago, the same poll showed Cruz with a small national lead over Trump, 28% to 26%.