Cruz passes Trump in NBC-Journal national voter survey
By NBP Staff | February 18, 2016, 14:12 EST
NEW YORK – Ted Cruz pulled ahead of Donald Trump in a national survey published late Wednesday by NBC News and the Wall Street Journal, marking the first time in months that the New York billionaire and former reality TV star hasn’t topped the results of a nationwide voter poll.
Cruz, a Texas Senator, was the choice of 28 percent while Trump had 26 percent, the poll shows. The survey of 800 registered voters has a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points, which suggests the two are locked in a dead heat. The results among 400 likely Republican primary voters had a margin of error of almost 5 percentage points.
Both Cruz and rival Marco Rubio, the senator from Florida, would beat Trump in head-to-head match ups, NBC said. Trump also saw his popularity decline among likely GOP primary voters, NBC said, pointing to the 56 percent who indicated they could support the New Yorker in the survey taken from Sunday to Tuesday compared with 65 percent in a similar January poll. In that earlier survey, Trump led Cruz 33 percent to 20 percent.
“When you see a number this different, it means you might be right on top of a shift in the campaign,” said Republican pollster Bill McInturff, who conducted this week’s survey with Democratic pollster Peter Hart and his firm, Hart Research Associates. “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,” McInturff said to NBC.
But a CBS News survey of likely Republican primary voters put Trump squarely in charge, with 35 percent to 18 percent, with a margin of error of 5 percentage points, the news organization reported today. The survey was taken Friday to Tuesday, so reflects responses from before the Saturday night GOP debate in South Carolina, site of the next primary vote.
A McClatchy-Marist poll in early November put retired Dr. Ben Carson 1 point ahead of Trump, but it wasn’t clear whether that was a national poll or whether it was limited to registered voters or likely Republican voters.
A CBS News-New York Times survey published at about the same time last fall showed Carson with a 4 percentage point lead over Trump, 26 percent to 22 percent, among likely Republican primary voters. That poll had a margin of error of 6 percentage points, so statistically the two were tied.