• Politics

Trump Strengthens Lead Over Cruz in New Poll

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Donald Trump now holds a double-digit lead over Republican opponent Sen. Ted Cruz in the 2016 presidential race, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal national poll.

Trump is the first choice of 33 percent of Republican primary voters, the national survey found. Cruz was the preference of 20 percent of respondents, followed by Sen. Marco Rubio at 13 percent and pediatric neurosurgeon Ben Carson at 12 percent.

The poll results come as the candidates prepare to face off in Thursday night’s GOP debate, weeks ahead of the Iowa caucuses. The debate is expected to highlight the growing rivalry between Trump and Cruz.

Read more: How to Watch Tonight’s Republican Debate Online

The survey, conducted between Saturday and Wednesday, included 400 Republican primary voters and had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percentage points.

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Write to Katie Reilly at Katie.Reilly@time.com