Trump Doubles Up Bush in Final Pre-Debate Poll

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Just days before Republican presidential candidates meet in Cleveland for their first debate, real estate mogul Donald Trump claims twice the support as his nearest rival, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, according to a new poll.

The Morning Consult survey shows Trump leading the Republican field with 25 percent of the vote, with Bush lagging at 12 percent. That’s a wider lead than Trump’s 11-point advantage in last week’s national tracking poll.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) finishes in third place, at 8 percent, while retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) are tied at 7 percent.

Fox News, which will host the first presidential debate on Thursday, has said it will invite the top ten candidates onstage. In the Morning Consult survey, Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) qualify for the sixth, seventh and eighth spots. Three governors are tied for the ninth and tenth spots at 3 percent apiece — Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R), New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R).

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Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) and former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) finish with 2 percent apiece, just outside the bubble.

In the race to build name recognition ahead of the first debate, Cruz’s support jumped the most, from 4 percent in last week’s tracking poll to 7 percent this week. Christie and Kasich both saw their support slump two points among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents.

Bush remains the most broadly popular candidate running for the Republican nomination; 59 percent of Republican voters say they see the former Florida governor favorably, higher than the 54 percent who say the same about Trump. But those who say they like Trump are more intense: 29 percent of Republican voters say they see him very favorably, while just 21 percent say the same about Bush.

Four top Republican candidates trail the Democratic front-runner, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in head-to-head matchups. Clinton leads Bush by a 42 percent to 40 percent margin, and she leads Paul, Walker and Rubio by between five and eight points.

But, worryingly for Clinton, she doesn’t reach more than 44 percent of the vote in any of the head-to-head matchups.

Clinton remains the clear front-runner among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents. She takes 60 percent of the vote compared with just 16 percent for Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent seeking the Democratic nomination. Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) and former Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) each lag with just 2 percent support.

The Morning Consult survey was conducted July 31 to August 3 among 2,069 registered voters, for a margin of error of plus or minus two percentage points. The sample of 783 Republicans and Republican-leaning independents carries a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points, while the sample of 860 Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents carried a margin of error of plus or minus 3.3 percentage points.

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