NEW YORK — Donald Trump is currently in the lead for the GOP nomination in the 2016 election, according to exit polls released Tuesday by exit polling firm exit poll data provider Exit Insights.
While Trump has historically outperformed his party’s front-runner in national polls, he is not the front-running candidate in any national exit polls conducted since early May, according the exit poll results.
According to exit pollster exit polling, Trump is now at 37.8 percent support among likely Republican voters, with Ted Cruz at 20.5 percent and Marco Rubio at 17.5.
“In a general election, the Republicans are still in a very tough spot, with the potential to lose the presidency and potentially lose the Senate,” said Michael Steel, senior vice president of research at Exit Insiders.
Trump has led in national exit polling for most of the primary season, but a few polls have been inconsistent.
In late April, Trump led Cruz by nearly 10 points in a Fox News/Marist poll.
But he trailed in a CNN/ORC poll from March 10 to May 17, with Cruz leading by more than 10 points.
During the GOP convention, Trump trailed Cruz by 4.5 points in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, and in a new CNN poll conducted April 8-11, Trump trails Cruz by 7 points.
But a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released on April 17 showed that Trump leads Cruz by a more than 9-point margin in the general election.
The latest NBC News poll found that 49 percent of registered voters now view Trump favorably, up from 38 percent in the April poll.
That same poll showed that 51 percent of Republicans view Trump unfavorably, up slightly from 44 percent in April.
Still, the exit polls show that Trump has led Cruz among likely GOP voters by a margin of 12 percentage points in national and battleground exit polls.
However, the pollsters also found that Trump trails among independents in national surveys.