For months, Donald Trump and Ben Carson dominated in Iowa polling, suggesting the Amateur Duo were well positioned in the first contest in the Republican presidential race. But with 54 days remaining, the once-static contest is clearly changing.
Take, for example, the latest poll of Iowa Republicans from Monmouth, which points to a brand new leader in the GOP field.
1. Ted Cruz: 24% (up from 10% in a Monmouth poll in October)
2. Donald Trump: 19% (up from 18%)
3. Marco Rubio: 17% (up from 10%)
4. Ben Carson: 13% (down from 32%)
5. Jeb Bush: 6% (down from 8%)
The remaining candidates are each at 5% or lower.
Note, the biggest mover is Carson, whose support has dropped precipitously from October, when Monmouth showed the retired neurosurgeon leading the Republican field. Cruz has long believed he’d be the principle beneficiary if Carson faltered, and that theory is looking quite sound – two months ago, a plurality of Iowa evangelicals backed Carson, propelling him into the lead, and now that same constituency backs Cruz, which has helped put him on top.
A few hours later, however, CNN released its latest poll of Iowa Republicans, and it pointed in a slightly different direction:
1. Donald Trump: 33% (up from 25% in a CNN poll a month ago)
2. Ted Cruz: 20% (up from 11%)
3. Ben Carson: 16% (down from 23%)
4. Marco Rubio: 11% (down from 13%)
5. Jeb Bush: 4% (down from 5%)
Trump’s 33% is the strongest performance of any Republican in any CNN poll conducted this year.
Obviously, these two surveys offer different results – relying on averages and aggregators is always a good idea – but broadly speaking, both show Carson’s support falling fairly quickly, while Cruz gains strength in the Hawkeye State.
Of course, both polls were conducted before Trump’s anti-Muslim comments yesterday, which may yet affect the race in ways that remain to be seen.