ted cruz
Ted Cruz. Alex Wong/Getty Images


A new poll of Republican voters released on Wednesday found US Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) vaulting past Donald Trump nationally.

In a clear break from other recent national polls, The Wall Street Journal/NBC survey showed Cruz, the Iowa caucuses winner, with 28% support among Republican primary voters.

Trump captured 26% in the poll. He was followed by Sen. Marco Rubio’s (R-Florida) 17% and Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s (R) 11%. Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson garnered 10%, while former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) rounded out the field with 4%.

It’s the first time Cruz has held a national-poll lead over Trump, and it’s the first time since October that Trump hasn’t held an outright lead in a national poll.

In an NBC interview, Cruz called the results “tremendously encouraging.”

The pollster acknowledged that the survey represents a clear “shift” in standing between the two. All national surveys released over the past month have found the businessman with a comfortable, usually double-digit lead over Cruz, his chief GOP primary rival. A Real Clear Politics average of five surveys released this month gives Trump an approximate 33% to 20% lead over Cruz among the GOP field.

“When you see a number this different, it means you might be right on top of a shift in the campaign. What you don’t know yet is if the change is going to take place or if it is a momentary ‘pause’ before the numbers snap back into place,” Republican pollster Bill McInturff said, according to NBC.

It suggested that last Saturday’s raucous Republican debate could have had a hand in the poll’s extreme shift, especially since it was conducted entirely after the debate.

On the other hand, even a hypothetically perfect poll would occasionally have results that are an outlier. Indeed, a new Reuters survey released Wednesday evening found Trump maintaining a significant, 20-point lead over Cruz.

Additionally, state surveys of South Carolina, which hosts its Republican primary on Saturday, have shown little erosion of Trump’s commanding lead in the days since the debate.

Indeed, a Bloomberg Politics survey of South Carolina released at the same time as the NBC/Wall Street Journal survey found the real-estate mogul leading Cruz 36% to 17%, in the Palmetto State.

Over the last week, the candidates have increasingly traded blows on the campaign trail.

On Tuesday, the Trump campaign threatened to sue Cruz if the senator did not stop airing a television ad that includes a years-old clip of Trump stating his then support for abortion rights. He fired back, goading Trump to file his lawsuit and saying that he would consider arguing in his own defense if the case went to trial.

Cruz said:

Even in the annals of frivolous lawsuits, this takes the cake. So Donald, I would encourage you — if you want to file a lawsuit challenging this ad, claiming it is defamation, file the lawsuit. It is a remarkable contention that an ad that plays video of Donald Trump speaking on national television is somehow defamation.

As reported by Business Insider