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Game Change: Cruz Soars to 10 Point Lead Over Trump in Iowa; Carson Sinks

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has taken a commanding 10-point lead over billionaire businessman Donald Trump in the all-important first-in-the-nation presidential caucus state of Iowa, a new poll from the Des Moines Register and Bloomberg shows.

Cruz is now towering over the whole field at 31 percent, while Trump has fallen 10 points behind the Texas Senator to 21 percent. Dr. Ben Carson, another outsider, is in third place with 13 percent. The Washington establishment and donor class-backed Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) is in fourth place with 10 percent.

Both Cruz and Trump improved their numbers from the previous Des Moines Register/Bloomberg polls. Cruz’s jump is 21 points—from just 10 percent before, in October—and comes on the heels of major endorsements from Iowa’s Rep. Steve King (R-IA) and the Family Leader’s Bob Vander Plaats.

The Register’s lead political correspondent Jennifer Jacobs wrote in her piece on the poll that “There are signs Cruz may not have peaked in Iowa yet.”

“Another 20 percent of likely caucusgoers say he’s their current second choice for president.” Jacobs wrote. “Cruz hits 51 percent support when first- and second-choice interest is combined, again leading the field.”

The Register’s pollster J. Ann Selzer is quoted as saying this poll represents a “big shakeup.”

“This is a sudden move into a commanding position for Cruz,” Selzer said.

The poll’s margin of error of 4.9 points means Cruz’s lead over Trump is comfortably—more than double—outside the margin of error.

Trump, in the previous poll, had registered 19 percent—which means he saw a 2-point jump from the last poll.

“Donald Trump, now 10 points below Cruz, was in a pique about not being front-runner even before the Iowa Poll results were announced Saturday evening,” Jacobs wrote. “He wasted no time in tearing into Cruz — and the poll — during an Iowa stop Friday night.”

Carson fares worst in this poll, having dropped 15 points from the October poll.

Rubio has remained stagnant from the October numbers—when he was at nine percent in fourth place—moving up just one percent in this new poll.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush remains in fifth place, up a percent from October, at six percent.

Under that, basically everyone is at three percent or less.  Jacobs wrote:

Three Republicans are tied at 3 percent: Paul, a watchdog for government overreach; former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a torchbearer for Christian conservative morals; and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a self-proclaimed messenger of hard truths. This poll result will play a role in determining whether Paul is on the main stage for the Las Vegas debate Tuesday night, or if he’ll be with the underdogs in the undercard debate. The rest of the field is at 2 percent or less, including Carly Fiorina, a public office rookie who leans on her experience as a technology company CEO, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who stresses his longtime government experience and competence.

The poll of 400 likely GOP caucus-goers was conducted Dec. 7 through Dec. 10, by Selzer & Co. of Des Moines.

The GOP candidates all head to Las Vegas, Nevada, this coming week for the next debate, moderated by CNN–and held inside GOP mega-donor Sheldon Adelson’s Venetian Resort and Casino on Tuesday evening. While almost every GOP candidate would welcome Adelson’s big pockets backing, Cruz and Rubio have been leading the way in vying for his support.

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