In the first national poll to be released following last Saturday’s South Carolina GOP Primary, Rasmussen shows Donald Trump increasing his lead to 15 points over the rest of the field. Trump registers 36 percent support in the poll, leading Marco Rubio (21 percent) and Ted Cruz (17 percent) by double-digit margins. John Kasich came in fourth, with 12 percent.
With 12 states voting next week on Super Tuesday, these numbers bode well for Trump’s chances, though tonight’s Nevada caucuses and Thursday’s CNN debate could alter the outlook between now and then. However, as Rasmussen points out, more and more Republican voters seem to be accepting the fact that Trump is now the clear favorite:
Rasmussen Reports’ latest weekly Trump Change survey, released the day before Saturday’s South Carolina primary, found that 71% of Republicans believe Trump is likely to win the GOP nomination, with 36% who say it is Very Likely.
More from Rasmussen:
Trump leads Rubio 33% to 21% among likely primary voters who identify as Republicans. Among independents who say they plan to vote in the GOP primary in their state, Trump posts a 44% to 19% lead over Rubio.
As Shane wrote yesterday, Trump has a clear advantage in open primary states, where he is able to profit from his huge lead among independents. Both his state wins so far, New Hampshire and South Carolina, were open primaries. And although tonight’s contest in Nevada is a closed caucus, nine of the twelve Super Tuesday states allow unaffiliated voters to vote in primaries, meaning Trump should not be at too much of a disadvantage in most of these states.
There are many more closed contests following Super Tuesday (starting with all four states voting on March 5), but depending on how well Trump does on March 1, it may not matter. This means that for the anti-Trump crowd, it is imperative to prevent Trump from racking up the wins and securing overwhelming momentum moving through next week. That task begins tonight in Nevada.
Paul Dupont is the managing editor for ThePulse2016.com.