Trump's lead grows in post-debate poll

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Presidential candidate Donald TrumpDonald TrumpTrump : Lynch, Clinton meeting 'horrible' Dem party hacker answers skeptics on nationality, politics French president endorses Clinton MORE is enjoying his largest lead over the GOP field following Tuesday's presidential debate, a new poll finds.

The post-debate survey from Public Policy Polling (PPP) released Friday shows the real estate mogul with 34 percent support nationally among GOP voters, up 8 points from a mid-November poll.

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Trump's favorability has also grown. He's rated at 51 percent favorable, 37 unfavorable; an improvement over his 51-37 split in November.

“As the year comes to a close Donald Trump is just getting stronger,” Dean Debnam, president of PPP, said in a statement.

“His support for the nomination is growing but so is his overall favorability which suggests his ceiling could be higher than often assumed.”

Sen. Ted CruzTed CruzMike Lee: Trump 'accused my best friend’s father of conspiring to kill JFK' Trump: Rivals who don't back me shouldn't be allowed to run for office Kasich touts poll showing he does better against Clinton than Trump MORE (R-Texas) sits in second place, with 18 percent support, followed by Sen. Marco RubioMarco RubioPoll: Rubio holds massive lead in primary Rubio: Turkey attack 'directed' by ISIS Trump: Rivals who don't back me shouldn't be allowed to run for office MORE (R-Fla.), with 13 percent. But Cruz’s lead grew 4 points since the November poll, while Rubio remains stagnant.

“Ted Cruz is getting stronger while Marco Rubio stays in place,” Debnam said. “There’s a long way to go but it’s become pretty clear over the last few weeks who the main rival to Trump is at least for now.”

The next tier of GOP candidates all poll in the single digits. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush gets 7 percent, followed by retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, at 6 percent. 

Carson has taken one of the biggest tumbles, dropping from 19 percent in the November poll. Following the terror attacks in Paris and California, Carson has struggled to demonstrate his national security bona fides and is sinking in the polls.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is at 5 percent and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee both have 4 percent support. The rest of the candidates register at 2 percent or less.

On the Democratic side, Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonTrump : Lynch, Clinton meeting 'horrible' Dem party hacker answers skeptics on nationality, politics French president endorses Clinton MORE saw a slight drop of 3 points since the November poll, but maintains her lead over Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersMajority of Democrats want third term for Obama Cutting corners in a federal campaign is criminal Sanders is only helping Trump by staying in the race MORE (I-Vt.), 56 to 28 percent. Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley trails, with 9 percent.

The poll was conducted from Dec. 16 to Dec. 17, following the Dec. 15 GOP debate. PPP surveyed 532 GOP primary voters and 525 Democratic primary voters via phone and Internet. The margin of error is 4.3 percent.

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