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Are the results of a new poll a sign of a "popularity surge" for Trump?  (Photo: DonkeyHotey/cc/flickr)

New National Poll: Trump Increasing Lead Over Clinton

New York billionaire has five-point lead over Clinton

Andrea Germanos

A new Rasmussen poll released Thursday shows Republican front-runner Donald Trump increasing his lead over Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

The New York billionaire has a five-point edge over Clinton, with 42 percent of likely voters saying they'd back him compared to 37 percent for Clinton.

The poll also shows Trump now getting 76 percent of the Republican vote; Clinton nabbed 72 percent of the Democratic vote. Thirteen percent of Democrats would prefer Trump in square-off between the two, while nine percent of Republican voters would favor Clinton in such a match-up.

A Rasmussen poll released at the beginning of the month, for comparison, showed the two candidates running neck-and-neck, with the real estate mogul with 41 percent to the former secretary of state's 39 percent, within that poll's margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

The new Rasmussen poll, the New York Daily News reports, "suggests Trump could be experiencing a popularity surge as he pivots away from many of the controversial and bigoted statements he made during the GOP primary and embraces more establishment positions as he prepares for the general election."

A separate NBC News/SurveyMonkey poll released this week showed Clinton with just a three-point lead over Trump—48 to 45 percent. That poll's margin of error is plus or minus 1.2 percentage points. And a Fox News national survey released Wednesday also showed Trump leading Clinton 45-42 percent, though that lead is within the survey's 3 percentage point margin of error.

Clinton challenger Bernie Sanders, for his part, has continued to point to polling showing that he's the Democratic candidate able to trounce Trump—and that ability was only further bolstered by the Fox News poll which showed that in a hypothetical general election match-up between the Vermont senator and Trump, Sanders leads 46 to 42 percent.

"If you look at virtually every poll in the last six weeks we do better and often much better against Trump than Secretary Clinton," Sanders said Friday in North Dakota. "So if the goal is to defeat Donald Trump, we are the campaign to do that."


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