Ohio Gov. John Kasich's big second-place finish in the New Hampshire Republican primary last week has given him a boost in the polls, but catching front-runner Donald Trump remains an elusive task for the entire Republican field.
According to an NBC News/SurveyMonkey poll of 13,129 registered voters released Tuesday, Trump, who won the New Hampshire primary handily, has maintained his massive lead nationwide. The businessman led the field with more than 38 percent, a three-point increase since the last NBC News/Survey Monkey poll was released on Feb. 8. Trump's lead persists despite the widespread opinion that he harmed his cause with some Republicans in Saturday's debate in South Carolina with his sharp criticism of former President George W. Bush and his defense of Planned Parenthood. The period in which the poll was conducted — Feb. 8 to Feb. 14 — covers both Trump's New Hampshire victory and his contentious debate performance Saturday.
The hangover from New Hampshire hit the candidates further down in the Republican field as well. Fresh off his surprise second-place finish, Kasich rose four points to 7 percent in the poll, a campaign high. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who finished fifth in New Hampshire, took a hit, dropping three points to 14 percent as his momentum as the favorite among the establishment candidates continues to stall.
Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas came in second in the poll with 18 percent, followed by Rubio, Dr. Ben Carson with 8 percent, Kasich, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who lags at 4 percent. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former HP boss Carly Fiorina, who both dropped out last week, picked up 2 and 1 percent, respectively.
As for the Democrats, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders continues to inch closer to front-runner Hillary Clinton. Sanders netted 40 percent of the vote in the poll, while Clinton maintains a 10-point lead at 50 percent.
The next contests will be Saturday: Nevada caucuses for the Democrats and the South Carolina primary for the Republicans.