DM Register/Bloomberg poll: Trump reclaims lead over Cruz in Iowa

Ted Cruz won the Republican race in Iowa Monday, Feb. 1, 2016, delivering a striking blow to chief rival Donald Trump. (Max Greenwood/MEDILL)

By Max Greenwood

DES MOINES, Iowa – Donald Trump reclaimed his lead over Sen. Ted Cruz in Iowa, according to a Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics poll released Saturday, showing booming momentum for the businessman-turned-presidential-hopeful just 48 hours before the Iowa caucuses.

The poll shows Trump at 28 percent – six points up from the newspaper’s last poll earlier this month – while Cruz fell to 23 percent, a two-point drop from the Texas senator’s standing in the last Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics poll.

The poll released Saturday was conducted between Tuesday and Friday by J. Ann Selzer, who is widely considered the top pollster in Iowa.

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Trump has largely dominated the Republican contest in Iowa since July, but Cruz has trailed close behind him in recent months. With the Iowa caucuses only two days away, the Des Moines Register poll marks a major victory for Trump, who’s already leading the Republican pack in New Hampshire by a wide margin.

But the news isn’t all bad for Cruz, who remains more popular than Trump in the state, according to the poll, and also leads the businessman-turned-presidential-candidate in depth of knowledge and experience.

The poll also found that Ted Cruz was more likely to be a second choice for likely caucus-goers than Trump, with 17 percent saying they would vote for Cruz as their second choice, and only 7 percent choosing Trump.

The results for the other Republican candidates show Florida Sen. Marco Rubio at 15 percent, Dr. Ben Carson at 10 percent and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul at 5 percent. The poll put the other GOP hopefuls at less than 5 percent.

With the race’s Republican establishment candidates, such as former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, lagging in the polls, many mainstream Republicans have flocked to Rubio to fill the vacuum. According to the poll, 20 percent of likely caucus-goers said Rubio was their second choice.

While the poll shows that 55 percent of likely GOP caucus-goers have already made up their minds on whom they will vote for, 45 percent say they could still be persuaded. Among that 45 percent, 9 percent say they are still undecided.

On the Democratic front, the poll put Clinton at 45 percent, up three points from earlier this month, and Sanders at 42, up two points from earlier this month. That momentum for Sanders could help the Vermont senator hold is commanding lead in New Hampshire leading up to the primaries there.

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, who’s running on the Democratic ticket, fell 1 percent since the last Des Moines Register poll, which now puts him at just 3 percent.

Photo at top: Donald Trump is leading Sen. Ted Cruz 28 percent to 23 percent, according to a Des Moines Register poll released Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016, putting the Texas senator three points down from where he was earlier this month. (Max Greenwood/MEDILL)