It's only natural for voters to be swayed by media hype. Especially when it comes to casual news observers, who don't usually follow the day-to-day details too closely, the general thrust of news coverage has a direct effect in shaping public perceptions.
Rachel reported an exclusive first look last night at the new national Republican poll from Public Policy Polling, which found the race shaping up like this: And so, when the public is led to believe Donald Trump failed in Iowa while Marco Rubio succeeded -- when though the first-time candidate received more votes than the Florida senator -- a shift in attitudes soon follows.
1. Donald Trump: 28% (down from 34% in December)
2. Ted Cruz: 21% (up from 18%)
2. Marco Rubio: 21% (up from 13%)
4. Ben Carson: 11% (up from 6%)
No other candidate topped 5%. Note, the survey included Rand Paul, who didn't announce his withdrawal until after the poll was in the field, and whose support was at 5%.
All of the usual caveats apply, of course, most notably the fact that this is only one poll. There's some additional post-Iowa data that doesn't show nearly as much of a shakeup.
But if PPP is correct, Trump's second-place showing in Iowa is costing him dearly, while the cheerleading surrounding Rubio has given him an enormous boost, despite his third-place finish behind Trump.
Also note Carson's unexpected increase -- his first signs of electoral life in months -- which raises an interesting question about where those voters will go once the retired neurosurgeon quits the race. It's long been assumed Carson backers would move (and by many measures, have already moved) to Cruz, but the recent animosity between the two camps might complicate matters.
Of course, PPP's latest data looks at the national landscape, which is a piece of the puzzle, but most eyes are on New Hampshire, where the first-in-the-nation primary is now five days away.
There have been some new tracking-poll results released, hinting at possible movement in Rubio's direction, but Trump still remains favored in the Granite State.
Then again, five days out, polls showed Trump favored in Iowa, too, so let's not draw any firm conclusions.