CBS News/YouGov released a poll showing U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) with a commanding 9 point lead over real estate mogul Donald Trump in Iowa. The two candidates combined, according to the poll, take up 71% of the vote heading into Christmas only six weeks before the Iowa Caucuses on February 2.
Cruz jumped 29 points since their last poll in November. Trump, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee gained one point. Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, the biggest loser in the poll, dropped 13 points. Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush dropped three points, Carly Fiorina dropped two points, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) dropped a point. U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), Ohio Governor John Kasich, U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and former New York Governor George Pataki have the same percentages as last time.
1. Cruz – 40%
2. Trump – 31%
3. Rubio – 12%
4. Carson – 6%
5. (Tie) Bush, Paul, Fiorina, Huckabee – 2%
9. (Tie) Christie, Kasich, and Santorum – 1%
12. (Tie) Graham and Pataki – 0%
The poll also indicates that the vote is hardening up with 31% of Iowa Republican caucus goers saying they have decided and 42% saying they probably won’t change. This contradicts the previous two polls that still show a pretty fluid race.
In terms of electability 63% said they believed Cruz was electable. 50% said the same of Rubio, 41% believe the same of Trump, but only 35% believe Carson is electable.
61% of Republican caucus goers said they believe Cruz is prepared compared to 48% who said the same of Rubio. Trump and Carson had dismal numbers with only 29% and 22% respectfully who said they were prepared to be Commander-in-Chief.
61% of Republican caucus goers said that a candidate’s views on national security and terrorism was the most important to their vote.
Cruz in this poll leads among men (43%) and women (36%). Cruz also leads among those who identified themselves very conservative (66%), Tea Party (52%), and evangelicals (47%).
Polling on the Republican race was conducted among a sample size of 534 likely caucus goers. It also had a, rather high, margin of error of +/-6.9%.
I have my doubts about Cruz and Trump holding this much of the vote, but this poll does show what we have seen is a Cruz surge, a Trump plateau, a Rubio uptick and Carson free-fall. I’m interested if future polls will back the CBS News/YouGov numbers or if this poll should be considered an outlier.