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Poll: Donald Trump Maintains His Lead Among GOP Candidates Heading Into 2016

As the end of 2015 draws near, Donald Trump is the clear leader in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, according to a CNN/ORC poll released on December 23.

Trump received 39 percent of Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters support as the Republican candidate. In second place, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas had 18 percent of votes. Trump has nearly double the support of second-place candidate Cruz.

Rounding out the top five are Ben Carson and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who both received 10 percent of votes, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie with 5 percent.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush received 3 percent of the votes.

According to the latest poll averages performed by Real Clear Politics, Trump leads the GOP race with 35 percent of voters' support. It also finds Cruz in second place with 18 percent, but Rubio takes third place at 11.5 percent, and Carson falls behind him at 10 percent. Bush holds the fifth place spot among poll averages with 4.4 percent.

While Trump may be in the lead overall, his favorability rating is poor, according to the CNN/ORC poll.

Trump received an unfavorable opinion rating of 57 percent, while Cruz’s was 39 percent.

The candidate with the highest favorability rating is Rubio with 46 percent.

On the Democratic side, a separate poll released on Dec. 23 by CNN/ORC found Hillary Clinton to be in the lead with 50 percent of respondents' support. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont remains in second place with 34 percent of votes, a gain of 4 percent since the end of November.

In a Clinton versus Trump scenario, Real Clear Politics finds that Clinton would win the presidential election by just over 6.1 percentage points. If it were Sanders versus Trump, the White House would still go to the Democratic party, by a 2 percent margin.

The only Republican candidate found capable of beating Clinton and/or Sanders is Rubio, by no more than 2 percentage points.

Sources: CNN/ORC,(2), Real Clear Politics, (2) / Photo credit: iprimages/Flickr

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