Trump now up 21 points over closest competitor, Cruz
© Greg Nash

Republican candidate Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpAssange meets U.S. congressman, vows to prove Russia did not leak him documents A history lesson on the Confederacy for President Trump GOP senator: Trump hasn't 'changed much' since campaign MORE added 3 points in a new CNN/ORC International poll released early Wednesday to expand his commanding lead over the GOP presidential field.

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Trump now has the support of 39 percent of Republicans independents who lean Republicans.

Sen. Ted CruzTed CruzThe media couldn't be more blatant in distorting Trump's words on Charlottesville Curtis wins GOP primary for House seat vacated by Jason Chaffetz Kimmel: Let’s make Trump a king so he has no power MORE (R-Texas) strengthened his second-place standing, adding 2 points since a similar poll in early December. He currently has 18 percent support.

Ben CarsonBenjamin (Ben) Solomon CarsonBen Carson: ‘Be neighborly’ to fight racism OPINION | This country sorely needs leadership after Charlottesville OPINION | This is no time for moral midgetry in Charlottesville MORE and Sen. Marco RubioMarco RubioScarborough: Trump has chosen the 'wrong side' THE MEMO: Trump reignites race firestorm RNC spokeswoman: GOP stands behind Trump's message 'of love and inclusiveness' MORE (R-Fla.), who both saw their support fall in the new national poll, are tied for third, with 10 percent apiece.

No other GOP contender had more than 5 percent support.

Trump is widely seen as the candidate most capable of handling the major issues facing the nation today.

A strong majority, 57 percent, said the billionaire businessman would be the best Republican primary contender to deal with the economy. His closest competitors are Cruz at 8 percent and Rubio at 7 percent.

Fifty-five percent also said they trust Trump most on illegal immigration, followed by Cruz at 15 percent and Rubio at 10 percent.

And despite never holding elected office, 47 percent said Trump would be preferred as commander in chief in the ongoing fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

The poll also found that Trump's support is largely comprised of non-college-educated voters. Among those without a degree, 46 percent back Trump, while only 27 percent of graduates said they support his candidacy.

The poll of 1,018 adults was conducted Dec. 17 to Dec. 21, following the last GOP debate on Dec. 15 in Las Vegas. It has a margin of error of 3 percentage points.

--Bradford Richardson contributed to this report, which was updated at 7:48 a.m.