Polls which come out between now and the first week of January should be taken with a grain of salt. Voters are being polled at a time when most minds are focused on Christmas vacations and New Year’s Eve celebrations, not presidential politics. With that caveat, however, Ted Cruz has moved to within four points of Donald Trump in the latest national GOP primary poll from Quinnipiac.
The data from Quinnipiac:
Six weeks before the Iowa Caucuses open the 2016 presidential race in earnest, Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz lead the Republican field nationally, but Trump trails either Democratic candidate, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton or Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, and 50 percent of American voters say they would be embarrassed to have Trump as president, according to a Quinnipiac University National poll released today.
Trump has 28 percent of the GOP pack, with Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas at 24 percent. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida has 12 percent and Dr. Ben Carson has 10 percent, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University Poll finds. No other candidate tops 6 percent with 8 percent undecided. But 58 percent of those who name a candidate might change their mind.
Among Democrats, Clinton tops Sanders 61 – 30 percent. Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley has 2 percent, with 6 percent undecided and 41 percent who might change their mind.
Among Republicans, 28 percent of voters say they “would definitely not support” Trump, with 24 percent who would not back Bush.
Only 23 percent of all voters would be proud to have Trump as president.
If Clinton is elected, 33 percent of all voters would be proud and 35 percent would be embarrassed.
Here’s the runddown:
28% – Trump
24% – Cruz
12% – Rubio
10% – Carson
6% – Christie
4% – Bush
2% – Paul, Fiorina (tied)
To put it truly in perspective, Huckabee, Santorum, and Kasich all top out at a solid one percent. Christie has improved his standings with good debate performances, though he’s polling better in New Hampshire than he is nationally. Ted Cruz seems to have vacuumed up mosty of Ben Carson’s support as the doctor continues to lose ground.
If conventional wisdom holds that Rubio can become competitive if the establishment will rally around him, the numbers of that scenario seem to add up on paper. Rubio is pulling twelve percent on his own. If we were to take Bush and Christie out of the mix, give their support to Rubio, that would put him north of twenty percent, well in contention for somewhere like Iowa or New Hampshire.
I was thinking that Bush would be inclined to drop out before Christmas, at this point I don’t think that’s going to happen. My guess would be he stays in until the Iowa caucus in the off chance he somehow catches fire or Trump and Cruz completely implode. The other option is that Rubio implodes and Bush siphons the support back.