Has attacking George W. Bush backfired big time for Donald Trump? According to the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC poll, voters are turning away from Trump and he now trails Ted Cruz 28% to 26% among GOP primary voters, with Marco Rubio in third at 17% and John Kasich fourth with 11%. Ben Carson is fifth with 10% and Jeb Bush is last with just 4%. The poll—which found that both Cruz and Rubio would defeat Trump in head-to-head match-ups—was conducted after Saturday's ferocious GOP debate and contradicts other recent polls, including one that gives Trump a massive lead in South Carolina. In warning signs for Trump, his support has dropped sharply among women and "traditional values" conservatives, the Journal notes.
This is the first major GOP poll since October that didn't have Trump in the lead, reports the Washington Post, and pollsters say the surprise result could be a blip—or an early sign of changes to come. "When you see a number this different, it means you might be right on top of a shift in the campaign," a Republican pollster says. "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." He says the post-debate slump may be "a 'pause' as Republican voters take another look at Trump. This happened earlier this summer and he bounced back stronger." (Another poll suggests Saturday's Democratic caucus in Nevada will be a nail-biter.)