Chris Stirewalt: Ted Cruz has Tremendous Support
By Ben Kamisar
Donald Trump has company on the Iowa GOP presidential podium, as Sen. Ted Cruz has moved within the margin of error at the top of a new Quinnipiac University poll released Tuesday.
The real estate magnate wins one-quarter of likely Republican caucus-goers compared to the Texas senator’s 23 percent. Ben Carson, the retired neurosurgeon who edged Trump out for the lead in last month’s Quinnipiac poll, sits in third with 18 percent, while Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) rounds out the upper-tier of candidates with 13 percent.
Rubio’s support holds steady from Quinnipiac’s October poll, while Cruz’s has more than doubled from 10 percent in October.
No other candidate topped 5 percent in Tuesday’s results.
“Last month, we said it was Dr. Ben Carson’s turn in the spotlight. Today, the spotlight turns to Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas. The Iowa Republican Caucus has become a two-tiered contest,” Peter A. Brown, the assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, said in a statement along with the poll’s release.
“The other candidates will need miraculous comebacks to crack the top tier with slightly more than two months before the voting begins.”
Cruz wins a whopping 42 percent of the Tea Party vote — almost twice that of Trump. He also cleans up with the “very” conservative but polls worse with the “somewhat” conservative and “moderate/liberal” group of caucus-goers.
He also earns the highest marks on foreign policy (24 percent), while Trump wins on terrorism (30 percent) and runs away with the economy (49 percent) and on illegal immigrants (45 percent).
Carson still has the best favorability rating among those polled, with 79 percent; Cruz, at 73 percent, and Rubio, at 70 percent, follow closely. Trump’s 59 percent rating is 20 percentage points off of Carson’s, slightly behind Carly Fiorina and former Gov. Mike Huckabee (Ark.).
A significant fall from the top four, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul wins 5 percent of the vote, followed by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s 4 percent and Carly Fiorina’s 3 percent. Both Paul and Bush have negative favorability ratings in the state.
No other candidate scored above 2 percent in Tuesday’s results, including the past two Iowa caucus winners — Huckabee and former Sen. Rick Santorum (Pa.).
Quinnipiac University polled 600 likely GOP caucus-goers Nov. 16–22, days after the Paris terrorist attacks. The margin of error is 4 percentage points.