Ted Cruz commands the top spot in the latest Monmouth University Poll of likely Iowa Republican caucusgoers – his first lead in any early state poll of the 2016 cycle. Donald Trump and Marco Rubio are within a few percentage points of one another for second place. The poll also found that an influential House member’s recent endorsement is only one factor behind Cruz’s rise, which has come primarily at Ben Carson’s expense.
Ted Cruz earns 24% support when likely caucusgoers are asked who they will support in the Republican contest. This marks a clear lead over Donald Trump (19%), Marco Rubio (17%), and Ben
Carson (13%). Jeb Bush stands at 6% and Rand Paul is at 4%, while Carly Fiorina and John Kasich earn 3% each. None of the other six candidates tested in the poll draws more than 2% support.
Carson’s fade is happening almost as quickly as his rise. He has cratered by 19 points in just a couple of months, as his mostly social conservative support realizes that Cruz is the more polished and electable choice, despite what moderate Republicans and establishment types would have people believe.
It’s a mystery what the rationale in Camp Jeb! is these days. He is mired at six or seven percent in Iowa and New Hampshire polls, and the only candidate above him whose fade he might benefit from is Rubio’s. That doesn’t seem a likely scenario.
There is also the fact that Cruz has been doing just fine with the fundraising even when he was in the lower third and middle of the pack in the polls these last several months. A strong showing in Iowa will only help, and a win would probably be quite a cash bonanza for him. That would be a glitch in Jeb’s new “let everyone go broke and make it a Trump/Bush race” strategy.
If Jeb really is the smarter brother, as so many have contended over the years, you might think that he’d let his intellect overrule his emotion and drop out before he is really embarrassed.