The latest on the presidential horse race.

Ted Cruz Pulls Into Second Place in Latest GOP Poll

Public Policy Polling, 12/12-12/15

  • Christie: 19
  • Cruz: 14
  • Huckabee: 13
  • Paul: 11
  • Bush: 10
  • Ryan: 10
  • Rubio: 7
  • Walker: 4
  • Jindal: 3

Since the summer, the Republican nomination race appeared to be centered around the Chris Christie-Rand Paul battle at the top but a new PPP poll has found that Texas Senator Ted Cruz has leapfrogged Paul and finds himself in striking distance of the New Jersey Governor for first place.

The poll, conducted between December 12 and December 15, sampling 600 registered voters, found that the GOP race remains split but Chris Christie retained his frontrunner status with 19 percent of the vote, five points ahead of Cruz. Christie has received 17-19 percent of the vote in all three national polls released so far in December, down from the 22-24 percent he saw in November following his landslide gubernatorial reelection.

Ted Cruz has slowly been inching forward and finds himself in second place with 14 percent of the vote. The previous two December polls showed Cruz with 10 and 13 percent of the vote. Fellow Tea Partier and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, who had led Christie in the polls until November, fell to fourth place with just 11 percent of the vote. The previous two December polls showed him at 12-14 percent.

The biggest difference about this poll was the inclusion of former Arkansas Governor and Presidential Candidate Mike Huckabee, who received 13 percent of the vote. Even with Huckabee’s inclusion, six different Republican candidates garnered 10 or more percent of the vote. Without Huckabee in the race, Christie would earn 23 percent of the vote while Cruz would see 15 percent and Paul would get 12 percent so most of the Huckabee voters would otherwise vote for Christie.

Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush tied for fifth place with 10 percent of the vote. That’s right around where both candidates have been polling since the summer and neither appears to be budging one way or another.

Florida Senator Marco Rubio has fallen off significantly after earning double-digit support in just about every poll until December and received just 7 percent of the vote in this latest survey. The previous two December polls both had him at 7 percent as well.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker also finished with his usual 4 percent of the vote, right where he’s been since the summer. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal continues to struggle to gain any traction and received just 3 percent of the vote.

(Image courtesy of Gage Skidmore)