Donald Trump polls have stayed stubbornly tilted toward the controversial candidate, but in the Iowa caucus, Ted Cruz just might beat out the front runner if the pool of choices slims down.
The latest numbers from Public Policy Polling are showing that Trump’s strong lead in the polls might change up a little bit when the GOP field narrows. After all, there are still a dozen candidates in the running, which is actually down from the 17 who were originally vying for the office. Donald and Ted have, in the end, turned out to be the two with the highest chances of taking the race in both Iowa and the nation — though who is slated to take the win is still up in the air.
Polls for Iowa, which will hold the electoral season’s first vote on February 1, are showing the pair in a close race: Trump with 28 percent of the vote, and Cruz with 26 percent. Still, there’s some not-so-good news for Ted when it comes to the issue Donald has been harping on to derail his campaign: 47 percent of those surveyed said that someone born outside of the United States is unqualified to be the president. In that group of voters, Trump retains 40 percent support to Cruz’s 14.
Ignorance, however, might be to Ted’s advantage. Despite Donald’s continued repetition of Cruz’s national origin, nearly half of those polled had no idea that he was born in Canada. More than a third of his own voters were also unaware, and nearly a quarter of that same group said that such a detail should bar someone from serving in the nation’s highest office. Interestingly, more respondents believe that Barack Obama was not born in the U.S. than the Canada-born presidential hopeful. Still, Trump might not want to get too comfortable: 65 percent said the issue would not influence their vote either way.
Donald also faces some other troubling news in the poll. In Iowa, Ted holds the highest favorability rating, with 69 percent of voters saying they had a positive view of the candidate. Trump trails behind with 54 percent. Cruz also happens to be the second choice of many, including Donald fans: 39 percent of his supporters would switch to Ted if Trump dropped out.
Only a slim majority of voters, however, have unwaveringly decided for whom they they will vote. While Donald is enjoying nearly three-quarters of supporters with no plans of going anywhere else, he’ll want to avoid getting too comfortable. Cutting out the other nine players in the GOP field, an election where Cruz, Trump, and Marco Rubio faced off would end with Ted on top with a 6 percent lead. Cut Marco out of the equation, and Cruz would obliterate Donald, with poll results of 54 to 37 in his favor. As PPP stated, strategic voting is “not likely to bode well for Trump.”
Outside of Iowa, national polls are still ranking Donald significantly ahead of Ted. In an average of recent data, Real Clear Politics still gives Trump a 14 percent spread over Cruz’s 20 percent. Marco Rubio and Ben Carson trail behind with 11 and 9.5 percent, respectively.
Polls aside, Ted Cruz and Donald Trump are likely to have a strong campaign push in Iowa for the rest of this month regardless. The state’s caucus is often seen as an early decision point for which candidate will take the nomination in the end.
[Image via Nicholas Pilch and Scott Eisen/Getty Images]