GOP Polling Dump

All at once, because while I could do six or seven posts, one on each poll, I like you too much to subject you to all that Republican miasma. Bottom line: Trump is rolling nationally, but Cruz is looking like the leader in the Iowa race.

Let’s start with the national polls:

Monmouth, December 10-13, 2015, 1006 respondents, margin of error +/- 5.0%

Donald Trump 41% (+13)
Ted Cruz 14% (+4)
Marco Rubio 10% (+4)
Ben Carson 9% (-9)
Jeb Bush 3% (-2)
John Kasich 3% (+2)
Chris Christie 2% (-1)
Carly Fiorina 2% (-4)
Mike Huckabee 2% (-2)
Rand Paul 2% (-2)

NBC/Wall Street Journal, December 6-9, 2015, 400 respondents, margin of error +/- 4.9%

Donald Trump 27% (+4)
Ted Cruz 22% (+12)
Marco Rubio 15% (+4)
Ben Carson 11% (-18)
Jeb Bush 7% (-1)
Carly Fiorina 5% (+2)
Chris Christie 3% (0)
Mike Huckabee 3% (0)
John Kasich 2% (-1)
Rand Paul 2% (0)

Note that although these are the two most recent national polls, they are at the extreme poles from one another. Trump does his best in the Monmouth poll and his worst in the NBC/WSJ. Cruz has his highest numbers in the NBC/WSJ tally. But even if we extend it to five additional polls, the pattern is the same. The current Real Clear Politics average over seven polls is: Trump 31.4, Cruz 16.3, Rubio 13.3, Carson 12.6, Bush 4.0, Fiorina 2.6, Christie 2.6, Kasich 2.3, Paul 2.1, Huckabee 2.0.

Trump is ascendant, Carson is cratering, Cruz is surging, and so is Rubio but to a lesser extent. Bush is treading water, and the rest really need to get back to their day jobs or start overtly positioning themselves as VP bait.

Iowa, on the other hand, is much more special in that very special Iowa kind of way. Three new polls over the weekend.

Bloomberg Politics/Des Moines Register, December 7-10, 2015, 400 respondents, margin of error +/- 4.9%

Ted Cruz 31% (+21)
Donald Trump 21% (+2)
Ben Carson 13% (-15)
Marco Rubio 10% (+1)
Jeb Bush 6% (+1)
Chris Christie 3% (+2)
Mike Huckabee 3% (0)
Rand Paul 3% (-2)
John Kasich 2% (0)
Carly Fiorina 1% (-3)

Fox News, December 7-10, 2015, 450 respondents, margin of error +/- 4.5% (no baseline for this poll, first one in 2015)

Ted Cruz 28%
Donald Trump 26%
Marco Rubio 13%
Ben Carson 10%
Jeb Bush 5%
Rand Paul 5%
Chris Christie 2%
Carly Fiorina 2%
Mike Huckabee 1%
John Kasich 1%

Quinnipiac, December 4-13, 2015, 874 respondents, margin of error +/- 3.3%

Donald Trump 28% (+3)
Ted Cruz 27% (+4)
Marco Rubio 14% (+1)
Ben Carson 10% (-8)
Jeb Bush 5% (+1)
Rand Paul 4% (-1)
Chris Christie 3% (+1)
Carly Fiorina 3% (0)
Mike Huckabee 1% (-1)
John Kasich 1% (0)

If Trump manages to win Iowa, look out. He’ll probably springboard that into a New Hampshire win, building huuuuuuuuuuge momentum going to South Carolina and Nevada. If Cruz sneaks by Trump, the calculus changes dramatically, and he becomes the favorite in South Carolina and the friendly Super Tuesday states of the SEC primary. The door will be open, briefly, for someone other than Trump to win New Hampshire - most likely Rubio, less likely Bush.

Rubio is in a bind that is simple to define but not at all easy to fix: he’s doing better, but where does he win early? Finishing a strong second or third over and over again leaves you nowhere in this race. He has to break through somewhere and I can’t say there’s a clear shot anywhere.

If Cruz’s momentum continues in Iowa, and he doesn’t get annihilated in New Hampshire, there’s ache de he runs the tense in a whole lot of states, including some of the big winner take all contests as the calendar moves to March and April. This race is shaping up in his favor, but it all starts with Iowa.

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