Super Tuesday: Trump Leads Early Polling, Cruz, Rubio Fight for Second

February 20, 2016 in Chapin, South Carolina.

A new round of polling from three Super Tuesday states shows Donald Trump dominating the Republican contest, with Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio locked in tight battles for second. These early polls show Trump leading in a diverse set of states across the country, including: Georgia, Vermont, and Massachusetts.

In Georgia, with the second biggest number of Super Tuesday delegates after Texas, Trump has 32 percent support, a 9 point edge over second place Marco Rubio with 23 percent. Ted Cruz is third with 19 percent support. Trump has gained 5 points in support since the last Georgia poll in early February, but his 9 point margin has stayed flat as Rubio has also gained. Cruz has gained just 1 point since the beginning of the month.

Trump and Rubio are tied in the Atlanta metro-area, while Trump has a large 15 point lead in the rest of the state. Another interesting aspect of the poll is that Rubio is running last, even behind Kasich and Carson, among Republican voters 40 or younger.

In the Super Tuesday states in New England, Massachusetts and Vermont, Trump has large leads against the rest of the field. In Massachusetts, Trump draws an overwhelming 50 percent of the likely Republican primary vote. Rubio is a distant third with just 16 percent, followed by Kasich at 12 percent and Cruz at 10 percent.

Unsurprisingly, the top issue for Massachusetts Republicans is “dissatisfaction with government,” picked by 35 percent of voters. The next most important issue, at 20 percent, is the economy. Almost half of Massachusetts Republican voters, 44 percent, say Ted Cruz is the “least honest” of the candidates. Trump is the second “least honest” at 20 percent.

In Vermont, Trump has a 15 point lead over second-place Marco Rubio. Trump has 32 percent, followed by Rubio with 17. Ted Cruz is in third with 11 percent, followed closely by John Kasich with 10 percent.

There are two enormous caveats to the Vermont poll, however. The poll was conducted over a two-week period, February 3-17 and the Republican sample is tiny. The poll sample is only 151 likely Republican voters. The margin of error in the poll is 9 percent, almost high enough to render the poll meaningless.

In addition, the poll was conducted before Jeb Bush dropped out of the Presidential race. He earned 8 percent support in this poll. It isn’t at all clear where his support will go before Super Tuesday.

A total of 11 states will vote in the Republican contest on Super Tuesday, March 1st. A twelth state, Colorado will vote for delegates that day, but won’t vote for a Presidential candidate. The Colorado delegates will go to the convention “unaffiliated.”

All other polling of Super Tuesday states is from early February or earlier in the campaign. These earlier polls provide a base-line of each candidate’s support, but tells us little of the race today. In these, Ted Cruz led in two, Texas and Arkansas. Rubio led in Minnesota. Donald Trump led in Alabama, Alaska, Oklahoma and Virginia.

No Republican candidate for President has swept all of the Super Tuesday contests since Bob Dole in 1996. Donald Trump, however, is currently near accomplishing that feat. If Cruz can hold onto his leads in Arkansas and Texas, however, he will likely win sufficient delegates to keep the contest competitive and undecided throughout March.


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