Washington: Ahead of the crucial South Carolina US presidential primary, Republican frontrunner Donald Trump maintained a commanding lead over his nearest rival Ted Cruz, two new polls showed on Thursday.
Billionaire-turned-politician Trump (35 per cent) has a 17-point lead over his closest rival Cruz (18 per cent), ahead of Saturday's primary.
Ohio Governor John Kasich (11 per cent) and Florida Senator Marco Rubio (12 per cent) are in a virtual tie for the third spot, CBS News said in its poll.
However, in a Fox News poll ? also released this morning ? Trump's lead over Cruz is reduced to 13 percentage points, still considered to be very high.
According to Fox News, Trump captures 32 per cent among likely Republican primary voters in South Carolina He is followed by a distant Cruz with 19 per cent and Rubio at 15 per cent.
As per the average of all major polls compiled by RealClearPolitics.Com, Trump (34.1 per cent) has an advantage of nearly 16 per cent against Cruz (17.6 per cent).
Meanwhile, for the first time, Trump has fallen behind Cruz in a national survey, according to the Wall Street Journal-NBC News poll.
Even though it falls within the margin of error, the poll released yesterday showed Republican Cruz (28 per cent) now leads nationally ahead of Trump's 26 per cent.
Cruz has also challenged Trump to go ahead and sue him after the real estate mogul sent him a 'cease-and-desist letter' over an advertisement criticising the New York tycoon.
During a CNN-organised town hall, Cruz, a top attorney, said he would himself argue the case in court against Trump.