Businessman Donald Trump continues to lead his Republican challengers in a new ABC News/Washington Post nationwide poll, but more support has shifted to his opponents as other candidates have dropped out.
The poll reveals he would also trail both Sen. Ted Cruz and Sen. Marco Rubio in a one-on-one race.
The poll found that 34% support Trump, while 25% support Cruz, 18% want Rubio, and 13% are for Gov. John Kasich. This means that Trump’s once 20+ percentage has now been cut by more than half by two separate candidates.
Trump’s support has remained essentially unchanged for months, and could dip further as he continues to take fire from all of his opponents, super PACs, and opponents in the conservative media.
The electoral map, however, and the number of opponents who remain in the race, may be Trump’s saving grace as he attempts to win the nomination outright.
The poll found that two key groups help Cruz outperform Rubio mano-a-mano against Trump: strong conservatives and evangelical white Protestants. Cruz leads Trump by 60-34 percent among very conservative registered leaned Republicans and by 64-31 percent among evangelical white Protestants. Rubio’s margins vs. Trump in those groups are a closer 56-41 percent and 55-42 percent, respectively.
But many of the states with the highest percentage of those two groups have already voted. The entire southern U.S. will have had their primaries when Florida and North Carolina vote on March 15th, and Trump has already won most of those.
The most delegates available come from more moderate states in the upper Midwest such as Michigan, which holds its primary today and where Trump leads in the polls, and Illinois and Ohio on the 15th.
The biggest prizes which remain after that are on the east coast, where New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey have yet to vote, and the west coast, where delegate rich California along with Arizona, Washington and Oregon will not go to the polls for weeks.