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Feb 28, 2016 5:38 AM

Steinhauser: Trump tops polls in Massachusetts GOP primary

NH1 News Political Director

BOSTON -- Donald Trump won big in New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada.

And new polling indicates he'll run up the margins in Massachusetts as well.

According to a Suffolk University survey of those likely to vote in Tuesday's Bay State Republican presidential primary, Trump is the clear front runner, at 43%.

The battle appears to be for second place, with Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida at 20% and Ohio Gov. John Kasich at 17%. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas is at 9%, with famed neurosurgeon Ben Carson at 4%. Seven percent remain undecided.

Forty-two delegates are up for grabs in Massachusetts, which is one of 12 states that hold GOP nominating contests on Super Tuesday.

The Suffolk University poll is the second straight survey this week, following a WBUR/MassINC poll, to indicate Trump far ahead of the rest of the field, with Rubio and Kasich battling for second.

Of the candidates tested, Kasich has the highest favorable rating (60%) in the Suffolk survey and the lowest unfavorable rating (21%).

Kasich's 39% net-positive rating tops Trump 22% net-favorability rating, with Rubio at plus 19% and Cruz at negative 11%.

Kasich is hoping for strong showings Tuesday in Massachusetts and Vermont, which also votes on Super Tuesday.

The Ohio governor campaigned in New England last weekend. He returns Sunday and Monday, with stops in Springfield, Massachusetts (3pm Sunday), Castleton, Vermont (11:30am Monday) and Plymouth, Massachusetts (3:30pm Monday).

The Suffolk University poll was conducted Feb. 24-26, with 500 likely GOP primary voters questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 4.4 % pts.

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