A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) faring best in a head-to-head matchup with Hillary Clinton — and regaining some lost GOP traction on the Latino vote.
Donald Trump, whose “very negative” rating ticked up to a high of 47 percent, leads the first-choice poll with 27 percent support among registered voters who said they would vote in the GOP primary, followed by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) at 22 percent and Rubio at 15 percent. Ben Carson has 11 percent support, down sharply from his lead of 29 percent in October.
In a head-to-head matchup with Clinton, Hillary gets 50 percent of the vote compared to 40 percent for Trump. Cruz comes in with 45 percent to Clinton’s 48 percent.
Rubio gets 48 percent compared to 45 percent for Clinton. Carson beats her by a point — 47 percent to 46 percent.
According to the poll, Rubio scores well against Clinton among independents, snagging 44 percent of the vote to her 37 percent. He also performed best among the GOP pack in terms of wooing women voters — 44 percent to Clinton’s 51 percent — and Latinos, with 36 percent support to Clinton’s 59 percent.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney lost the 2012 race with only 27 percent of the Hispanic vote. Latinos pushed President Obama over the top in swing states Colorado, Florida, Nevada, New Mexico and Pennsylvania.
Fifty-nine percent of respondents said they have a very or mostly favorable view of Muslims, while 29 percent said their view of the adherents to Islam was very or mostly unfavorable. When asked solely about American Muslims, the favorable rating ticks up to 64 percent and the unfavorables hit 30 percent.
Twenty-seven percent said they support Trump calling for “a total and complete shutdown for any Muslim being allowed to enter the United States,” while 57 percent oppose the proposal.
Clinton has a 56-37 percent lead over Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in the poll.