With the Iowa caucuses now 19 days away, it's getting tougher to predict the likely winner. A new Des Moines Register/Bloomberg poll was released this morning, and it points to a race that's become much tighter than it was a month ago.
1. Ted Cruz: 25% (down from 31% in December)
2. Donald Trump: 22% (up from 21%)
3. Marco Rubio: 12% (up from 10%)
4. Ben Carson: 11% (down from 13%)
Each of the remaining candidates were at 5% or lower.
J. Ann Selzer, who conducted the survey, highlighted the fact that Cruz's advantage over Trump has slipped from 10 points to 3 points since early December, noting, "It's hard to say Donald Trump is back, because his support grew only one point. It seems more a matter of slippage for Cruz."
As for why, exactly, the Texas senator may be faring less well, there's plenty of speculation, but it's likely a combination of things, ranging from attacks on his birthplace to anti-Cruz activism from the ethanol industry.
There will be one additional Des Moines Register/Bloomberg poll released before the Feb. 1 caucuses. And while this is generally considered the gold standard in Iowa polling, it's not the only new data we've received out of the Hawkeye State.
Public Policy Polling released its latest results yesterday, and PPP has the race unfolding this way:
1. Donald Trump: 28% (unchanged since December)
2. Ted Cruz: 26% (up from 25%)
3. Marco Rubio: 13% (down from 14%)
4. Ben Carson: 8% (down from 10%)
5. Jeb Bush: 6% (down from 7%)
Each of the remaining candidates are at 3% or lower.
While Cruz is a close second in this survey, the PPP analysis added, "[T]here is plenty of good news for Cruz in this poll though. His 69/18 favorability rating makes him by far and away the most popular candidate in the state."
So where does that leave us? Five major polls have been released since New Year's in Iowa. Two of them have Cruz up by four points, one has Cruz up by three points, and the other two show Trump up by two points.
Average them together and it's clear we're on track for a very interesting evening on Feb. 1.
As for the national picture, the new poll from New York Times/CBS News still shows one dominant frontrunner in the Republican race:
1. Donald Trump: 36% (up from 35% in December)
2. Ted Cruz: 19% (up from 16%)
3. Marco Rubio: 12% (up from 9%)
4. Ben Carson: 6% (down from 13%)
5. Jeb Bush: 6% (up from 3%)
Each of the remaining candidates were below 5%.
Trump's 36%, more than the combined support for Cruz and Rubio, is the strongest showing of any Republican in any NYT/CBS poll this cycle.