By Thomas Madison

Ted Cruz has broken the 20% barrier in the latest CBS South Carolina GOP presidential poll from CBS, putting Cruz right at 20%. There is one very big problem with that. Donald Trump.

Trump registers 42% in the same poll, more than doubling what would have seemed like an impressive polling number just a few months ago. Marco Rubio places third at 15%, rounding out the field of double-digit candidates.

So, this now appears to be a three-horse race, and two of the horses look like they haven’t eaten in a month. Most of the single-digit players will likely throw in the towel after Super Tuesday, March 1. Jeb Bush will likely bow out after he gets clobbered in his home state of Florida (March 15), where RCP hasTrump leading the former governor 40% to 9%.

From Anthony Salvanto, Fred Backus, Jennifer De Pinto, Sarah Dutton, CBS News

The CBS News Battleground Tracker poll shows that Donald Trump keeps a large lead in South Carolina, bolstered by support from conservatives and also from evangelical voters, who make up a large share of the electorate here.


Ted Cruz is in second place, but well behind Trump. Cruz has the support of those who consider themselves very conservative, but trails Trump among all conservatives as well as moderates.

John Kasich has gotten a little bounce out of his surprisingly strong showing in New Hampshire, but he may be limited here by the fact that evangelical voters are not as strongly in support of him as non-evangelicals.

For Trump voters, who have been relatively steadfast in their support over the last few months, the percentage who say they’ve firmly decided on Trump has increased. Trump’s lead among evangelicals is up from January, and he has widened his lead among conservatives, too.

In a contest marked by divisions among so-called “insiders” and “outsiders,” South Carolina Republicans show a strong preference for campaigns running as the latter, and this poll helps illustrate why. By four to one, South Carolina Republicans describe the “establishment” as a bad thing, and few describe it as a group that knows how to get things done.