Donald Trump is dominating the GOP presidential field in the first three states to vote in the 2016 campaign, including in Iowa where he has extinguished the lead once held by Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC/Marist Poll finds.
In New Hampshire and South Carolina, Mr. Trump leads by double-digit margins. In all three states he is the first choice of more than 30% of people likely to vote in the Republican primaries or caucuses.
“Trump is positioned to run the house in these first three states,” said Lee M. Miringoff,director of the Marist College Institute of Public Opinion. “His supporters are committed and plan to turn out.”
The poll suggests Mr. Cruz will be his strongest competitor even if the senator has lost ground in Iowa. Mr. Cruz now stands in second place in all three states including New Hampshire, a place that doesn’t typically favor Republicans with his kind of conservative profile.
Among Democrats, the poll points to a roller-coaster ride through the three early-voting states. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont remain deadlocked in Iowa; Mr. Sanders has opened a commanding 57%-38% lead in New Hampshire; in South Carolina, Mrs. Clinton enjoys an even wider 64%-27% spread.
The polls demonstrate that Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton remain their party’s front-runners. While Mrs. Clinton has a rougher road than Mr. Trump in Iowa and New Hampshire, South Carolina gives her a “firewall,” Mr. Miringoff said.