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New Polls: Trump And Clinton Hold Commanding Leads In Their Respective Parties

Early December polls reveal that Donald Trump has reasserted his lead over the Republican field, while Hillary Clinton has furthered her support over rival Bernie Sanders in the Democratic race.

CBS News reports that Donald Trump is now supported by 35% of Republican primary voters, which is 13 percentage points higher than where he was in October, and is in fact the highest level of support he has received yet according to CBS polling.  Ted Cruz has surged to second place with 16%, while former poll leader Ben Carson has slipped into third place.

In fourth place is Marco Rubio with 9%, with many predicting that he will end up as the candidate of the Republican establishment.  Jeb Bush, who was once slated for this role, has sunk to 3% in the latest polling data, despite having the largest campaign war-chest of any candidate and spending millions of dollars on ads.

51% of Trump supporters say that they have made their final evaluations on the candidate, and leads the Republican field among both men and women, according to CBS News.

In a statistic that is likely to frighten the Republican establishment even more, USA Today reports that 68% of Trump's supporters say they would vote for him if he ran as an independent rather than a Republican, against just 18% who said they would not.  Trump himself has raised this possibility again recently, after being condemned in various quarters for his statements about banning Muslims from entering the U.S.

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton is currently leading rival Bernie Sanders nationally with 52% of primary voter support to Sanders' 32%.  The CBS polling data found that with Clinton and Sanders, there is a distinct age divide between their supporters: those over the age of 45 in all groups are more likely to support Clinton, while Sanders does better with voters under 45 and independents.

Another interesting finding in the data was the partisan enthusiasm gap during this election cycle.  CBS reports that two-thirds of registered voters are at least somewhat enthusiastic about the 2016 election, but Republican primary voters are more excited about voting than those who plan to vote in the Democratic primary.

Sources: CBS News, USA Today / Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

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