Just days before the Feb. 20 primary, Republican front-runner Donald TrumpDonald TrumpIvanka Trump creating fund to support female entrepreneurs: report Former State Department adviser announces run for Maryland governor Rob Thomas: Anti-Trump celebs have become 'white noise' MORE holds a commanding lead in South Carolina, according to a new poll.
Marco RubioMarco RubioWhat’s with Trump’s spelling mistakes? Boeing must be stopped from doing business with Iran Top Trump officials push border wall as government shutdown looms MORE places third, with 17 percent support, followed by John Kasich, with 9 percent support, Jeb Bush, with 8 percent, and Ben Carson, with 7 percent.
Trump is up 8 points since a November iteration of the poll, while Cruz is up 10 points from that same span. Rubio is up 6 points.
Although Trump has expanded upon his lead, his favorability numbers among Republicans have dropped.
He is now seen favorably by 50 percent of Republicans, down from 58 percent in November, and unfavorably by 41 percent, up from 29 percent in the fall.
But strong anti-establishment sentiment appears to be driving the billionaire businessman’s popularity in the Palmetto State.
Fifty-four percent of respondents said they would prefer someone with no governmental experience, compared to 33 percent who favored a public servant.
“The overwhelmingly negative feelings of South Carolina Republicans toward the political establishment have helped Trump build upon the support he enjoyed since summer,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.
Only 42 percent of voters said they are completely decided on which candidate to support before the Feb. 20 primary. But 57 percent of those backing Trump said they are locked in on the real-estate mogul.
The Monmouth University poll surveyed 400 likely Republican voters Feb. 14–16 and had a margin of error of 4.9 percent.