Massachusetts Poll: Trump +21, Kasich and Rubio Tied for Second

Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump is seen on television in the CNN filing room during the Republican Presidential Debate at the University of Houston in Houston, Texas on February 25, 2016.
Thomas B. Shea/AFP/Getty Images

A new poll of Massachusetts from WBUR Boston finds Donald Trump with a massive 21 point lead over the GOP field. Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio are locked in a dead heat for second, while Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is a distant fourth.

Donald Trump currently has 40 percent support of likely Republican primary voters. Kasich and Rubio are tied at 19 percent each. Cruz has 10 percent. Ben Carson is last with just 5 percent of the vote.

Trump is viewed favorably by 56 percent of likely voters there, the highest of any Republican candidate for President. His net favorable rating, i.e. the difference between favorable and unfavorable ratings, is +25. Kasich has the highest net favorable rating, though, at +30. Rubio is +15, while Cruz is -22.

More than two-thirds of likely Republican primary voters, 69 percent, believe it is more important to have a candidate who can change the political experience than have the right experience to be President.

Trump runs best among voters making less than $50k a year, drawing half of their support. Among these voters, Trump has a 38 point lead over his nearest rival, Marco Rubio. Among voters making more than $100k a year, however, Trump’s lead is only 6 points over second-place John Kasich.

Trump also dominates among voters without a college degree, winning 52 percent of their support. His lead with these voters is 37 points over his nearest rival. Trump wins college graduates by almost a 2-1 margin. Among Republican primary voters with a graduate degree, however, Trump finishes third.

Massachusetts is one of four states outside the South holding primaries on Super Tuesday. There are a total of 42 delegates at stake in Massachusetts, only slightly less than Virginia or Minnesota. The only other poll of Massachusetts this year, conducted in mid-February, showed Trump with a 34 point lead over Rubio, who was followed closely by Kasich.

Kasich is the only candidate scheduled to campaign in Massachusetts before Super Tuesday. Kasich is doing events both in Massachusetts and neighboring Vermont, which also votes on March 1st. Kasich is well-positioned to finish second in the Bay State following his second place finish in New Hampshire.

Much of New Hampshire is in the Boston media market. Because Kasich campaigned aggressively in New Hampshire, he has high name recognition in Massachusetts. If Kasich can finish ahead of Rubio in Massachusetts, he will be able to continue to argue that he is the most viable establishment candidate to challenge Trump.

The WBUR poll was conducted Sunday-Tuesday and interviewed 386 likely Republican primary voters. The margin of error is +/- 4.9 percent.