Jump ball in Iowa: Trump leads by one in new poll from Loras, Cruz leads by two in new one from KBUR

Anybody know where I can get some non-prescription Vicodin? I was planning to rely on whiskey on caucus night once Cruz pulled ahead last month, but now that Trump’s neck-and-neck with him again, I think that’s not going to cut it.

Here’s the new one from Loras showing a bad trend for Cruz:


Nothing unusual here about Cruz losing ground. In the two weeks before Christmas, when Carson’s slide started accelerating, Cruz was at or above 30 percent in no fewer than four different polls. One of those had him up nine points over Trump; another, the Selzer poll, had him up 10. Since Christmas, though, he’s never reached 30 percent again. His poll average right now is 26.4, a point and a half behind Trump — and the new Loras numbers don’t account for Palin’s endorsement or Terry Branstad and Bob Dole slamming Cruz, all of which happened after the survey was taken. If you’re bearish on Cruz, here’s more ammo.

On the other hand, he’s still ahead in some surveys. New from KBUR:


Even in the Loras poll, where he’s a point behind Trump, Cruz is still the favorite to win with a 38 percent chance of victory in Iowa versus a 29 percent chance for Trump. (Trump, however, is favored for the nomination.) That’s because Cruz has more room to grow than Trump does. Although he leads with 26 percent, just 13 percent of the rest of the electorate say they’re considering him as a second choice. Fully 23 percent say so of Cruz. Cruz is also far more popular than Trump, with a net favorability of +53 compared to Trump’s +14. That explains why, I think, Trump has been reluctant lately to say he’s now in a two-man race with Cruz. If other candidates’ supporters start seeing it that way and conclude that they should abandon their guy and choose between Cruz and Trump, there’s every reason to think Cruz would win. That also makes Iowa a tough call for fans of the more center-right candidates like Rubio and Bush, who may hate Trump and want to see him lose but who can’t afford to let their guy have a dismal showing in Iowa a week before New Hampshire. If you’re a Rubio fan, what’s your best interest in Iowa if he’s still hovering between eight and 13 percent a day before the caucuses? Do you stick with him instead of voting for Cruz, knowing that a Trump win in Iowa will make Rubio’s task harder in NH? Or do you break for Cruz to defeat Trump and risk Rubio collapsing in Iowa, which could kill him in NH? Or maybe there’s less of a conflict than I think. Arguably, Rubio fans don’t care if Trump wins New Hampshire so long as they finish second. A good showing by Marco in Iowa improves those chances irrespective of what Trump does.

Speaking of Rubio, you can choose your own adventure based on these two polls. His third-place showing in Loras is exactly where he wants to be per his “3-2-1” strategy. At 13 percent, he’s more than doubled the take of his closest center-right competitor, Jeb Bush. Rubio himself may benefit from strategic voting by Iowans who hate Trump and Cruz but are momentarily committed to other candidates. If you’re a Fiorina fan or a Huckabee fan and you want to wound Cruz and Trump, what’s a better use of your vote? Sticking with them or giving it to Rubio a week before New Hampshire? On the other hand, the KBUR numbers are dismal: Rubio’s just two points ahead of Jeb and two points behind Ben Carson, and if you check the crosstabs you’ll find that he actually trails Jeb ever so slightly among women. Is Team Bush going to end up killing him in Iowa before he even gets his crack at NH?

Update: Just across from Politico, a change of strategy in Iowa by Team Marco.

Marco Rubio had long planned an ambitious Iowa advertising assault in the weeks leading up to the caucuses, but his campaign has quietly scaled back its ad buys in the state by more than $500,000, according to a POLITICO analysis of advertising buys.

The change appears due partly to a switch from offense to defense, but it also comes at a time when the Florida senator is focusing his hopes for an early state victory in South Carolina, where his campaign is increasing its advertising buys, according to the analysis, compiled for POLITICO by The Tracking Firm.

Some of the decrease in Iowa ad spending likely stems from the campaign’s switch from 60-second biographical ads to shorter 30-second ads that are considered more effective as responses to attacks such as those Rubio is facing from his rivals for the GOP nomination and the super PACs supporting them.

Join the conversation as a VIP Member

Trending on HotAir Video