Charisma Caucus

Ted Cruz Jumps Out Front in Iowa ... For A Few Hours

Ted Cruz at a September campaign event.
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) briefly took the lead in polls in the first-in-the-nation caucus state, Iowa, after the release of a Monmouth University poll Monday. A second poll released that evening dropped him back down to second behind Donald Trump. (Reuters photo)

There's an old saying about the weather in Iowa: "If you don't like it now, wait five minutes; it will change." Apparently, the same can be said for Iowa's political polling.

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) sent a shockwave through the 2016 Republican primary field Monday morning when Monmouth University released its latest poll, which showed the freshman senator leading in the first-in-the-nation state by five points, 24 to 19, over businessman Donald Trump. U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio moved up to third at 17 percent, while Dr. Ben Carson dropped to 13 percent.

Rounding out the poll, which had a sample of 425 Iowa voters likely to attend the Republican caucus on Feb. 1, were:

• former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, 6 percent;

• U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, 4 percent;

• former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, 3 percent;

• Ohio Gov. John Kasich, 3 percent;

• New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, 2 percent;

• former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, 2 percent;

• former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, 1 percent;

• U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, 0 percent; and

• former New York Gov. George Pataki, 0 percent.

Uncommitted voters came in at 1 percent, while undecided voters polled at 4 percent. The poll's margin of error was 4.8 percent.

Cruz' prospects in Iowa have been buoyed in recent days by the endorsement he received from U.S. Rep. Steve King, who represents the northwestern quadrant of the state. According to the Monmouth poll, evangelicals—who make up about half of the Iowa Republican Caucus voters—support Cruz over Trump, 30 to 18 percent.

The polling result pulled Cruz neck-and-neck with Trump in the 30-day polling average, as well as the 14-day RealClearPolitics.com average. But the euphoria was short-lived.

Monday evening, CNN and ORC International released their latest poll that showed Trump not only remained in the lead in Iowa, but that his lead was growing. According to that poll, Trump took first with 33 percent, while Cruz garnered only 20 percent.

Rounding out the field:

• Carson, 16 percent;

• Rubio, 11 percent;

• Bush, 4 percent;

• Paul, 3 percent;

• Fiorina, 3 percent;

• Christie, 2 percent;

• Huckabee, 2 percent;

• Kasich, 1 percent;

• Santorum, 1 percent;

• Graham, 0 percent; and

• Pataki, 0 percent.

"Someone else," "no one," and "no opinion" each received 1 percent. The sample size of the poll was 552 Iowa voters likely to participate in the Republican presidential caucus, and the poll had a margin of error of 2 percent.

As a result of the second poll, Trump's 30-day average is now 4.75 points better than Cruz, and nearly 10 points better than Carson, who is in third place. Rubio, in fourth, is the only other candidate with a double-digit polling average.

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