Trump hits 50% among GOP primary voters in NBC national poll

Donald Trump shows no sign of losing momentum in the Republican primary as he gets ready to win big in tonight’s primaries in the northeast. A new NBC/Survey Monkey report from its weekly tracking poll shows Trump nearly doubling up Ted Cruz, 50/26, while John Kasich drops back to 17%. The consolidation of the field has not resulted in a perceptible increase in support for either of Trump’s two challengers for the GOP nomination, as many expected, at least not in this polling series.

Take a look at the data for this series since the start of the year:

nbc-sm-polling

Trump remained in the high 30s throughout January and February, when several candidates remained in the race. By the beginning of March, everyone else but Cruz, Kasich, Marco Rubio, and Ben Carson had dropped out, and Trump began scoring in the 40s on a regular basis. When it became a three-man race shortly afterward, Cruz and Kasich picked up between 8-10 points each — but so did Trump.

Compared to the rest of the polls in the RCP average, this NBC/Survey Monkey result is a bit of an outlier … but the same consolidation dynamic is also apparent in the broader national polling. The highest Trump has polled in the listed surveys at RCP is 45%, and his RCP average is 43%, with Cruz at 30% and Kasich at 21%. However, even if the real amplitude may be smaller for Trump than the NBC/Survey Monkey poll suggests, look at the chart of the RCP average since January 1:

rcp-average

Consolidation of the field has not been at all detrimental to Trump. Arguably, he might be benefiting most from it. This is almost certainly why Cruz and Kasich quit calling for each other to leave the race, and instead have worked out a deal to team up against Trump to keep him from getting a majority of the delegates in Cleveland. Even with that, it’s beginning to get tougher and tougher to claim that Trump only represents a limited faction within the GOP.