In New CNN/ORC Poll, Trump Leads GOP Field at 41%

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Donald Trump has hit a new high in the race for the Republican nomination, according to a new CNN/ORC Poll, with more than 4-in-10 Republican voters nationwide now saying they back the billionaire.

And more than two-thirds of Republicans say he’s the candidate most likely to capture their party’s presidential nomination.

Trump has topped the 40% mark for the first time in CNN/ORC polling, standing at 41%. That more than doubles the support of his nearest competitor, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who notches 19% support in the poll. No other candidate hit double-digits. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio landed at 8%, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson at 6%, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush at 5%, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie at 4%, and the rest at 3% or less.

Despite the new high-mark for Trump, the GOP race remains fairly stable compared with where it was in the most recent CNN/ORC poll in late December.

In that poll, Trump stood at 39%, Cruz at 18% and Rubio at 10%. Carson’s 4-point dip, from 10% to 6%, between the two surveys is the largest change in the field, and it is not large enough to be a statistically significant change given the new poll’s 5-point margin of sampling error.

Trump’s lead is clearly significant, however, and the poll finds him well ahead of the field among a range of GOP subgroups. He leads among both men and women, younger and older voters, white evangelicals, conservatives and both self-identified Republicans and independents who lean toward the party.

There are two subgroups where Trump’s lead is less dominant: college graduates and tea party supporters. Even among those groups, however, he remains at the head of the pack. Among those holding degrees, 26% back Trump, 20% Cruz, and tea party supporters split 37% for Trump, 34% for Cruz.

Trump’s supporters are more likely than those backing other candidates to say that they’ve definitely made up their mind (70% of Trump’s supporters say they are locked in compared with 40% who back other candidates).

And the prospect of a Trump candidacy generates more enthusiasm overall (40% of Republican voters say they would be enthusiastic about a Trump nomination) than the possibility of Cruz (25% enthusiastic) or Rubio (18% enthusiastic) at the head of the ticket.

Trump’s dominance continues when voters assess which of the GOP candidates would best handle top issues.

Trump holds his widest advantage on handling the economy: 60% of GOP voters say Trump would best handle it, a 48-point lead over Ted Cruz. Likewise, Trump has a 55% to 16% edge on handling illegal immigration.

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SOURCE: CNN, Jennifer Agiesta