Trump hits 50 percent in national GOP poll for the first time
While Republican frontrunner Donald Trump still needs more than 300 delegates to reach 1,237 — the magic number needed to secure the GOP presidential nomination — he has finally reached a key milestone in his bid for the White House: support from half of the country’s likely Republican voters . . .
According to a new NBC News/SurveyMonkey national tracking poll released Tuesday, 50 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents say they support the real estate mogul’s candidacy, compared to the 26 percent who support Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and the 17 percent who are backing Ohio Gov. John Kasich.
Trump’s double-digit lead over his GOP rivals is one reason Cruz and Kasich banded together this week in an effort to block the brash billionaire from winning the GOP nomination.
Excluding independents, Trump now enjoys 49 percent support among Republican voters, up six points from last week, when the same poll was conducted prior to his resounding primary victory in New York.
At Crosby High School in Waterbury
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump addresses supporters at a campaign event at Crosby High School in Waterbury, Conn., on April 23, 2016. (Photo: Charles Krupa/AP)
Trump nearly reached 50 percent in a CNN/ORC poll conducted in February, when he led Florida Sen. Marco Rubio by 33 points (49 percent to 16 percent) among Republican and Republican-leaning voters.
Crossing the 50 percent threshold is important for Trump, who has hovered in mid-to-high-40 percent range in recent weeks — leading some to speculate that the White House hopeful had hit his ceiling with GOP voters.
In a statement blasting the Cruz-Kasich pact Monday, Trump complained that he “would be receiving in excess of 60% of the vote except for the fact that there were so many candidates” running against him.
On the Democratic side, frontrunner Hillary Clinton is ahead of Bernie Sanders nationally, but her lead has narrowed to just 2 points, an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released Monday shows.