Donald Trump’s top competition for the GOP presidential nomination gained strength heading into Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary, according to a national Morning Consult poll. While Trump maintains a strong lead with 38 percent of the vote, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz gained three percentage points after his Feb. 1 victory over Trump in the Iowa caucus. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who had a stronger third-place finish in Iowa than expected, also got a three-point bump from our last poll. Cruz and Rubio gained even more from our poll immediately before the Iowa caucus. Cruz is up five percentage points, Rubio is up seven percentage points.
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Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders gained two percentage points following former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley’s exit from the race. Sanders is widely expected to win the New Hampshire primary, after finishing a close second to Hillary Clinton in Iowa. But Clinton still leads the national race by double digits, grabbing 50 percent of national Democratic voters.
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This poll was conducted from February 3-7, 2016, among a national sample of 4,287 registered voters. The interviews were conducted online and the data were weighted to approximate a target sample of registered voters based on age, race/ethnicity, gender, educational attainment, region, annual household income, home ownership status and marital status. Results from the full survey have a margin of error of plus or minus 1 percentage points.