Trump is still on top, but the surprise is that Cruz overtook Carson. Here are snippets from Steve Benen's report (MSNBC/MaddowBlog).
Rich Lowry reported yesterday in National Review on the state of the Republican presidential race in Iowa, concluding, "It’s hard to exaggerate how much things have broken [Ted] Cruz’s way."
Just 24 hours later, there’s some pretty compelling evidence that this assessment is correct. Here’s the new Quinnipiac poll out of the Hawkeye State:
- Donald Trump: 25% (up from 20% in October)
- Ted Cruz: 23% (up from 10%)
- Ben Carson: 18% (down from 28%)
- Marco Rubio: 13% (unchanged)
No other candidate is above 5%, though it’s worth noting that Jeb Bush, who actually had the lead in Iowa in the early summer, is down to just 4% support – one percentage point lower than Rand Paul.
The latter observation illustrates a non-obvious aspect of the poll. The net change for all four top candidates is 8 percentage points. Those points had to have come from the tail-enders (like Bush and Paul). In Iowa GOP politics, the rich got richer and the poor got poorer.
If this continues, and Cruz supplants Carson in the top tier, the nature of the race will fundamentally change.
There’s quite a bit of time left on the clock, but it’s now quite easy to imagine Cruz winning Iowa and Trump winning New Hampshire. It creates an interesting question for Republican insiders to kick around: the GOP establishment hates Cruz, but should we assume that it hates Trump more?