Donald Trump is in charge the Republican presidential primary with a new national poll putting him on top for the first time.

The Suffolk University/USA TODAY Poll finds that 17 percent of voters who identify either as Republicans or independents and who plan to vote in their states' Republican primaries choose Trump as their first pick.

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Behind him:

— Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush 14 percent.

— Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker 8 percent.

— Texas Sen. Ted Cruz 6 percent.

— Florida Sen. Marco Rubio 5 percent.

— Dr. Ben Carson 4 percent.

— Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul 4 percent.

— Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee 4 percent.

— New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie 3 percent.

"Trump is making daily headlines in advance of the primary season," said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University political Research Center in Boston. "This has vaulted him to the top of the pack on the backs of conservative voters. But when you expand the electoral pool to include Democrats and independents that potency dissipates."

Among self-identified conservative or very conservative Republican likely voters, Trump led Bush 17 percent to 11 percent, he added.

The poll also showed Hillary Clinton slaying Trump in a general election, 51 percent to 34 percent.


The Suffolk University/USA TODAY survey was conducted via landline and cell phone. The field of 1,000 adults was conducted Thursday, July 9, through Sunday, July 12. The margin of error overall is +/-3 percent at a 95 percent level of confidence. For the Republican subset of 349 likely Republican primary/caucus voters, the margin of error is +/- 5.25 percent; for the subset of 595 likely Republican primary/caucus voters including first and second choices combined, the margin of error is +/- 4.02 percent.

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at