Cruz Trounces Trump in New Iowa Poll
Texas senator can likely thank Dr. Ben Carson for his new 5-point lead
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 7, 2015 1:14 PM CST
Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks to the media before a town hall meeting at Furman University on Monday in Greenville, SC.   (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt)

(Newser) Ben Carson's loss may be Ted Cruz's gain—and responsible for the new thorn in Donald Trump's side, at least in Iowa. The Texas senator zipped ahead of Trump in a new Monmouth University poll released Monday, the New York Times reports. Cruz, who garnered support of 24% of likely GOP caucusgoers, now enjoys a 5-point lead over Trump (19%), followed by Marco Rubio at 17% and Carson at 13%; everyone else in the field lags at 6% or less. The last Monmouth poll in October had Carson in the lead, but he's fallen 19 percentage points since. Backing Cruz the most in the poll—conducted Dec. 3 to 6 among 425 Iowa voters likely to attend the GOP caucuses in February—are evangelicals: Cruz nabbed the support of 30% of them, while previous evangelical pick Carson only brought in 15% this time around (Trump hovers in the middle with 18%).

Another boost for Cruz: the endorsement of the Hawkeye State's Rep. Steve King, which 20% of polled Republicans said would make them more likely to throw their support behind Cruz. "This marks the first time Ted Cruz has held a lead in any of the crucial early states," the director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute says in a press release. "As Ben Carson's stock has fallen, Cruz has been able to corral most of those voters." (Did Cruz's own prayer team put in an extra good word for him?)