Trump leads, but Kasich support reaches new high ahead of NY primary: Poll

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Donald Trump remains the top pick of Republicans and Republican-leaning voters nationally, but Ohio Gov. John Kasich has gained the most ground, according to the latest NBC News|SurveyMonkey Weekly Election Tracking poll.

Trump remains at 46 percent support this week, unchanged from last week. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz dropped 2 points from last week and now has 28 percent support. Kasich has 19 percent support, up 3 points from last week. Kasich's rise, while modest, still gives him the highest support he has had since the start of the tracking poll.

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The poll was conducted online from April 11 to April 17 among 13,020 adults aged 18 and over.

For the most part, the demographics of the electorate have not played a critical role in the Republican primaries this season. However, some groups have been important to particular candidates. Trump, for example, has done very well among those without college degrees. This has important implications in the New York primary.

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John Kasich through his career
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Trump leads, but Kasich support reaches new high ahead of NY primary: Poll
MT. PLEASANT, SC - FEBRUARY 10: Republican presidential candidate John Kasich talks to an overflow crowd outside of Finn's Brick Oven Pizza February 10, 2016 in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina. The South Carolina Republican primary will be held Saturday, February 20. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
11/3/95 - Rep. John R. Kasich (R-OH), seated 2nd from left, and Sen. Pete V. Domenici (R-NM) in the dark suit standing, go over their response to President Clinton's radio address just prior to recording the radio broadcast in the Senate studio. Kasich was casually dressed as the House was out of session for the weekend. (Photo by Robert A. Reeder/The Washington Post/Getty Images)
D:\BOB\budget3.tif - slug: NA/BUDGET date: May 2, 1997 photog: Robert A. Reeder TWP The Rotunda of the Capitol description: GOP happy with their signed budget John R. Kasich (R-OH) is having a particularly good time during the GOP announcement of a new budget in the Rotunda of the Capitol. In front of him is Speaker Newt Gingrich. (Photo by Robert A. Reeder/The Washington Post/Getty Images)
P 350430 022 2May99 Manchester, Nh John Kasich (R-Oh), At The First-In-The-Nation Primary Kick-Off Weekend. (Photo By Jonathan Elderfield/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 02: HOUSE ARMED SERVICES--John R. Kasich, R-Ohio, and Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., talk during House Armed Services Committee hearing on the president's fiscal year 2000 defence budget authorization budget request. (Photo by Douglas Graham/Congressional Quarterly/Getty Images)
Former Ohio congressman John Kasich attends the Republican National Convention at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota, Wednesday, September 3, 2008. (Photo by Harry E. Walker/MCT/MCT via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC- Dec. 01: Governor-elect John Kasich, R-Ohio, and House Minority Leader John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, during a news conference after their meeting with other Republican members and governors-elect. Boehner is the presumed House Speaker for the 112th Congress. (Photo by Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly/Getty Images)
John Kasich, governor of Ohio, speaks during a groundbreaking ceremony for the Cleveland Medical Mart and Convention Center in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S., on Friday, Jan. 14, 2011. The Cleveland Medical Mart and Convention Center will include a 100,000 square foot medical mart and an adjoining convention center with 230,000 square feet of exhibit hall space. The facility is expected to open in September 2013. Photographer: David Maxwell/Bloomberg via Getty Images
COLUMBUS, OH - MARCH 30: Ohio Governor John Kasich works long hours with staff on his new budget proposal at his office, in the Ohio State House office, Columbus, Ohio, Wednesday, March 30, 2011. Newly elected republican Ohio Governor John Kasich is working toward to balancing an Ohio budget in deficit through a budget proposal with extensive budget cuts, spending reform, and changes in labor laws, including restrictions on collective bargaining. (Photo by Melina Mara/ The Washington Post via Getty Images)
US Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (2nd L) waves alongside Ohio Republican Senator Rob Portman (L) and Ohio Governor John Kasich (R) during a campaign stop at Tom's Ice Cream Bowl in Zanesville, Ohio, on August 14, 2012. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/GettyImages)
UNITED STATES - AUGUST 28: Ohio Gov. John Kasich speaks at the 2012 Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. (Photo By Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)
COLUMBUS, OHIO - JULY 21: Ohio Governor John Kasich gives his speech announcing his 2016 Presidential candidacy at the Ohio Student Union, at The Ohio State University on July 21, 2015 in Columbus, Ohio. Kasich became the 16th candidate to officially enter the race for the Republican presidential nomination. (Photo by Ty Wright/Getty Images)
CONCORD, NH - FEBRUARY 09: Republican presidential candidate Ohio Governor John Kasich waves to the crowd after speaking at a campaign gathering with supporters upon placing second place in the New Hampshire republican primary on February 9, 2016 in Concord, New Hampshire. Kasich lost the Republican primary to Donald Trump, though he upset fellow Republican governors Chris Christie and former Governor Jeb Bush. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

In the previous Republican primaries, 16 percent of voters have an education level of high school or less, according to the NBC News Exit poll. According to results from the NBC News Exit Poll in the 2008 New York Republican primary, 25 percent of the electorate had an education level of high school or less.

Nationally, 56 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaners with an education level of high school or less support Trump this week, down 3 points from last week, according to the tracking poll. Cruz gets 27 support among that group, and Kasich gets 11 percent support.

White evangelicals have also been an important group throughout the primary season, making up 50 percent of Republican primary voters so far. In New York, however, there are fewer white evangelicals than the previous contests this year.

In 2008, white evangelicals made up 15 percent of the New York Republican primary electorate, according to NBC News Exit Poll results. Overall, Trump and Cruz have done well among white evangelicals in the 2016 primary contests so far.

Trump has 44 percent support among white evangelicals in our tracking poll this week. That number held steady from last week. Cruz has 38 percent support among that group, down 2 points from last week. Kasich got a boost among white evangelicals this week and now has 16 percent support, up from 10 percent. The significant difference in the number of white evangelicals in New York compared to prior states could hurt Cruz, who has consistently done well among white evangelicals.

While there was not a lot of change in the national numbers this week, the changing composition of the electorate in every state makes it important to examine key subgroups. The subgroups important in Tuesday's New York Republican primary suggest that Trump is poised to do well. Kasich's rise is also born out in our national poll, and it will be interesting to see how this translates into votes in the contest.

The NBC News|SurveyMonkey Weekly Election Tracking poll was conducted online April 11 through April 17, 2016 among a national sample of 13,020 adults aged 18 and over, including 11,498 who say they are registered to vote. Respondents for this non-probability survey were selected from the nearly three million people who take surveys on the SurveyMonkey platform each day. Results have an error estimate of plus or minus 1.3 percentage points. A full description of our methodology and the poll can be found here.

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