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Poll of Polls: Trump has big lead in South Carolina, nationwide

Story highlights

  • Two days before South Carolina's crucial Republican primary, Trump paces the field at 35%, a new CNN Poll of Polls shows
  • The surveys included were conducted before CNN's two-night GOP town hall

Washington (CNN)Donald Trump has a clear lead over the Republican field in South Carolina and nationwide as Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio battle for second place, a new CNN Poll of Polls shows.

Two days before South Carolina's crucial Republican primary, Trump paces the field at 35%, followed by Cruz's 19% and Rubio's 15%, in a Poll of Polls averaging the four most recent surveys of likely Republican primary voters spanning February 10-17.
    After those three are former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush at 10%, retired pediatric brain surgeon Ben Carson at 8% and Ohio Gov. John Kasich at 7%.
    Trump's wide lead doesn't mean the political world can turn its attention away from the Palmetto State just yet. The surveys included were conducted before CNN's two-night GOP town hall, the first part of which aired Wednesday, and Trump's competing town hall on MSNBC. They also came before popular South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley endorsed Rubio and before Trump's high-profile spat with Pope Francis.
    Nationally, Trump is at 34%. He is trailed by Cruz at 21%, Rubio at 16%, Kasich at 9%, Carson at 6% and Bush at 5%, according to an average of four national polls on the race conducted between February 10 and February 16.
    That's a two-point drop for Trump from CNN's previous Poll of Polls, taken a week before the Iowa caucuses. Cruz has gained two points and Rubio has gained five. Carson has dipped two and Bush has held steady. But Kasich is the biggest riser, jumping six points on the heels of a second-place showing in New Hampshire.