The latest NBC poll of the GOP race for the Presidential nomination is mostly unsurprising, but there is one big change that has some people taking note. The latest poll conducted in conjunction with SurveyMonkey shows Dr. Ben Carson fading (the last poll had him tied with Donald Trump for the lead) and Ted Cruz surging!
NBC says that Trump seems to be rebuilding his lead, having now climbed back to 28%, while Carson has dropped back to second place at 18%, which is the same number supporting Ted Cruz. Behind them is Marco Rubio at 11%, then Jeb Bush at 4% and Chris Christie and Carly Fiorina each with 3%.
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This result is Ted Cruz’s best of the campaign thus far and seems to prove the recent feeling among prognosticators and pundits that he is steadily building a solid foundation of support. Cruz has been slowly trending upward in the NBC poll but that trend seems to be gaining speed.
As the poll suggests, the primary victim of the Cruz surge has so far been Dr. Carson. A look at the underlying numbers seems to bear this out. Among white Evangelical voters, Ted Cruz has slowly been amassing more and more support, while Trump has stayed steady at 23%, but Carson who was at 33%, has now dropped to 25% among white Evangelicals.
It seems that the recent controversy over the possibility that Dr. Carson may have lied (or stretched the truth) in his biography has done more damage to Dr. Carson than we initially realized. For Evangelical conservatives, this may indicate that honesty, trustworthiness and integrity are more important considerations than the political motives that drive other candidates’ popularity.
One other thing to note from the above chart is that it seems that the “very conservative” GOP voters have begun lining up behind Ted Cruz. While Donald Trump has remained generally steady around 28%, Ben Carson has seen his support from the most conservative slip by almost half meanwhile Cruz has consolidated 40% of their vote.
While Trump and Carson seem to have hit their ceiling among GOP voters (remember, while Trump has been leading for quite some time now, he has been unable to climb higher than about 30% of the GOP vote and he is STILL the most “disliked” candidate in the field), Cruz seems to be just getting going.
If Cruz can continue to build on this momentum and begin to eat away at Donald Trump’s support, he could very quickly become the odds-on favorite to win the nomination. Cruz has a higher ceiling of support than Trump, as much credibility with Christians as Carson, greater political and rhetorical acumen than either Trump or Carson, and is still considered a Washington outsider even though he’s been a Senator for almost four years now.
Things are getting very interesting in the GOP campaign.
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