Poll: Donald Trump Enters 2016 Still Leading GOP Race

| by Robert Fowler
Donald Trump at a campaign rallyDonald Trump at a campaign rally

Ringing in the new year, GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump has something to smile about. The business mogul remains in the lead of the Republican pack with a strong 35 percent of the electorate, according to a new poll.

A survey conducted by NBC News and Survey Monkey from Dec. 28, 2015 through Jan. 3, 2016 was released on Jan 5, showing Trump maintaining a commanding lead in the contentious GOP race for the presidential nomination.

Trump currently holds at 35 percent of GOP voters nationwide with Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas coming in second at a distant 18 percent. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida clocks in at third with 13 percent.

Former neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who had spent the fall of 2015 nipping at Trump’s heels at the polls, has slipped to fourth with 9 percent. Meanwhile, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is at 6 percent, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is at 4 percent while Carly Fiorina is currently holding 3 percent of the electorate.

The new survey also examined how the leading candidates fare with men, women and Evangelical voters.

39 percent of GOP men favor Trump while only 29 percent of women would vote for him. Meanwhile, Cruz has 21 percent of men and 13 percent of women.

Despite white Evangelical voters making up the base of Cruz’s appeal, Trump still bests the Texas senator with that demographic. The business mogul is currently nabbing 33 percent of evangelical support while Cruz is behind with 21 percent.

A large question among political pundits is just how committed Trump’s supporters are to their candidate. The new survey shows that about 84 percent of Trump supporters are largely confident that they will vote for him, with 51 percent describing themselves as “absolutely certain.”

While Trump continues to hold a dominant lead in the GOP race, contenders Cruz and Rubio have huge upside potential with flexible voters.

A survey conducted by The Wall Street Journal with NBC News polling splits the GOP constituency into three pieces: Trump Voters (who clearly belong to Trump), Social Conservatives (where Ted Cruz finds his support) and Establishment Centrists (which is Marco Rubio’s wheelhouse).

Asking voters from the three demographics which candidates they would consider crossing platforms to vote for, the survey found that 66 percent of Trump supporters can see themselves voting for Cruz while 45 percent can imagine switching sides to Rubio.

Meanwhile, 69 percent of social conservatives can see themselves voting for Rubio while 45 of establishment centrists are open to giving their vote to Cruz.

As for Trump, while 57 percent of social conservatives said they could wind up voting for the business mogul, only 23 percent of establishment centrists can envision throwing their support his way.

Sources: NBC News, Wall Street Journal / Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore / Flickr