First, Hillary vs Trump, as of yesterday (2/16):
Hillary vs Cruz:
Trump is more competitive with Hillary than Cruz is. The televangelist vote isn't enough to carry the electoral college.
Is Trump's apparent advantage over Cruz in the general merely ascribable to the specific dynamic that a Hillary-Trump race entails?
Here's Bernie vs Trump:
Bernie vs Cruz:
These hypotheticals all include Bloomberg, who, though more recently a Republican than a Democrat, would probably peel off more votes from Hillary/Bernie than from Trump/Cruz.
This underscores how difficult it is for a Republican presidential candidate to win a national election in 2016. The markets currently have the Democrats at almost 2:1 favorites over the Republicans to win the presidency. Unless the GOP forces a political re-calibration modeled on the Sailer Strategy--and Trump is trying to lead them there--the Republican future looks bleak.
Parenthetically, Reuters-Ipsos doesn't have data on potential Rubio or ¡Jabe! matchups.
Since Hillary remains the favorite on the Democrat side, let's look at how Trump and Cruz fare against her among self-described political independents.
He beats Hillary by more than 2-to-1 among independents.
Hillary actually beats Cruz here. Cruz's appeal is limited to self-described "very conservative" evangelicals. He doesn't do well with any other demographic group. Trump repels a portion of those inclined to vote Republican, but he also has by far the widest demographic appeal in the GOP field.