The latest Iowa GOP caucus polling shows Texas Senator Ted Cruz leading the field sitting five points ahead of Donald Trump. Rounding out the top four are Rubio and Carson, respectively. The trend for Cruz has been on an upward trajectory and this is the first poll out to show him leading Trump in Iowa while Ben Carson continues to lose support.

Report from CBS News:

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has overtaken businessman Donald Trump in the race for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination in Iowa, a new poll from Monmouth University shows.

Cruz gets 24 percent support among likely Republican caucus goers, a significant lead over Trump’s 19 percent. His fellow senator Marco Rubio of Florida comes in third with 17 percent support, and former neurosurgeon Ben Carson nets 13 percent support.

Rounding out the field is former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush with 6 percent, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul with 4 percent, and former Hewlett Packard Executive Carly Fiorina and Ohio Gov. John Kasich with 3 percent. No other candidate got more than 2 percent support.

This is only the second time another Republican candidate has drawn more support than Trump since early August. Carson briefly overtook Trump in October before seeing a substantial drop off in his support. He has lost 19 points since a Monmonth survey two months ago.

Unlike Carson, who shot up in the polls quite rapidly yet has buckled under the scrutiny, Cruz has simmered slowly gathering support and building his ground game in Iowa.

Here’s a breakdown of this poll:

24% – Cruz
19% – Trump
17% – Rubio
13% – Carson
6% – Bush
4% – Paul
3% – Fiorina, Kasich (tied)
The rest less than 3%

As you can see, the field is coalescing around the top four, though I imagine Carson may continue hemorrhaging support which will split mostly to Cruz, though some to Trump and Rubio as well.

If Trump begins attacking Cruz, that will be a new benchmark in the race and a turning point for the Trump/Cruz truce of sorts. So far, the two men have been complimentary of each other while focusing attacks mostly on other candidates like Bush or Rubio. I imagine that neither one wants to swing too hard, if at all, given that each may fear they’re alienating support they’ll need to eventually take on the establishment candidate.

If Trump were to take Iowa, he’s got smooth sailing right now in New Hampshire and South Carolina, where he leads strongly. For Cruz to upset and take Iowa, he’d probably then lose New Hampshire which would create a mad dash for South Carolina. In fact, if Cruz wins Iowa and Trump wins New Hampshire, it may open up Rubio for a stronger showing in South Carolina if the anti-Trump and anti-Cruz factions decide they cannot afford either one as the nominee.


CNN’s latest Iowa poll finds a very, very different landscape which is much more friendly to Trump:

Donald Trump’s support continues to grow among those who say they are likely to participate in February’s Iowa presidential caucuses and Ted Cruz is on the rise while Ben Carson loses ground in the state, a new CNN/ORC Poll finds.

Overall, Trump has 33% support among likely GOP caucusgoers, followed by Cruz at 20% with Carson at 16%, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio at 11% and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush at 4%. The new poll shows Trump up 8 points, Cruz up 9, while Carson has faded by 7 points, compared with the last CNN/ORC poll, conducted in late October and early November.

The poll finds a markedly different landscape among potential GOP caucusgoers than another Iowa poll released Monday by Monmouth University. The difference between the two seems to stem primarily from sampling.

The Monmouth poll interviewed a sample drawn from registered voter lists that primarily comprised those who had voted in state-level Republican primary elections in previous election years. Among those voters, Monmouth found Cruz and Rubio ahead of Trump and Carson. Among voters who were not regular GOP primary voters, however, the poll found Trump ahead, similar to the CNN/ORC poll’s finding.

Have to wait for another poll out this week to give us a better understanding of whether Monmouth or CNN are the outlier.