The latest on the presidential horse race.

Iowa 2016: Cruz Gains on Christie While Paul’s Support Dips

Harper, 11/23-11/24
Iowa GOP:

  • Christie: 17
  • Cruz: 16
  • Paul: 13
  • Santorum: 11
  • Ryan: 9
  • Walker: 7
  • Rubio: 6
  • Jindal: 3

A new poll released by Harper has found that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Texas Senator Ted Cruz are in a dead heat in the Iowa Republican nomination race while Kentucky Senator Rand Paul trails by four percentage points.

The poll, conducted between November 23 and November 24, sampling 390 likely Iowa caucus voters, found that 17 percent of voters are leaning toward New Jersey Governor Chris Christie while 16 percent favor Texas Senator Ted Cruz. Christie’s support has remained consistent as the leading moderate was polling at 16 percent in the last Iowa poll, conducted back in July. Cruz, on the other hand, has seen a spike since that poll was conducted, jumping from 10 percent to 16 percent.

Rand Paul, who led the field in July with 18 percent of the vote, has seen his popularity waiver and came in third in this most recent survey with 13 percent of the vote. Clearly, some of those votes went for Ted Cruz but many also went for Rick Santorum, who won the most votes in the Iowa caucus in 2012. Santorum came in fourth with 11 percent of the vote after garnering just 6 percent back in July.

The rest of the Republican pack didn’t hit double-digits which has to be a concern since it’s the fringe candidates who can benefit most from the Iowa bump. Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan came in fifth with 9 percent of the vote, followed by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker who received 7 percent. Florida Senator Marco Rubio and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal rounded out the field, receiving 6 percent and 3 percent, respectively. Ryan had been polling at 15 percent before this recent slump while Rubio fell from 11 percent back in July.

Iowa holds the distinction as the first-in-the-nation caucus and has traditionally been a key state in the path to the nomination but the winners of the last two Iowa caucuses, Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul (who finished third in voting but won Iowa’s delegates because those are chosen after the non-binding vote), have failed to continue the tradition, ultimately losing their bids.

(Image courtesy of Gage Skidmore)