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Poll: Trump and Cruz are the Republican frontrunners, and Clinton would beat them both

Clinton has a yuuuuuge polling lead over Trump.
Clinton has a yuuuuuge polling lead over Trump.
Sean Rayford/Getty Images
Libby Nelson is Vox's policy editor, leading coverage of how government action and inaction shape American life. Libby has more than a decade of policy journalism experience, including at Inside Higher Ed and Politico. She joined Vox in 2014.

Sen. Ted Cruz is on the rise in the Republican primary and has climbed to second place in national polls.

But Republicans are still clustering behind candidates — Cruz and Donald Trump — who would likely lose to Hillary Clinton, according to a new poll from the Wall Street Journal and NBC News.

The more Republicans want to vote for someone, the more likely it is that they'd lose to Clinton in the general election.

Clinton would crush Trump, the poll found, 50 percent to 40 percent. She'd perform particularly strongly with women, Hispanic voters, and independents, all of whom said they'd rather vote for Clinton by large margins:

Clinton has looked more competitive with Trump in head-to-head polls lately. Since September, she's consistently led, but only by a few points, as the RealClearPolitics poll averages show. The WSJ/NBC poll might suggest she's reopening a larger lead.

Ted Cruz is on the rise — but Clinton would beat him

Meanwhile, Cruz is surging both nationally and in Iowa. The WSJ/NBC poll put him in second place, behind Trump, with 22 percent of support among Republican primary voters.

Two polls late last week found Cruz was leading in Iowa, the first time any candidate besides Trump or neurosurgeon Ben Carson had led in the state.

Cruz seems to have benefited as Carson's support has collapsed. He's particularly popular among evangelical voters and people who describe themselves as "very conservative" — both groups who tended to support Carson during his brief stint as frontrunner.

The NBC poll found Clinton would beat Trump as well, 48 percent to 45 percent, a relatively narrow lead that's nearly within the poll's margin of error.

The candidate with the best chance to beat Clinton, according to the poll, was Marco Rubio, who'd win 48 percent to 45 percent. But Rubio still trails Cruz and Trump in national polls.

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