UPDATED with CNN poll: Now we know why CNN pretty much ignored Monmouth’s poll this morning showing Texas Sen. Ted Cruz ahead of Donald Trump in Iowa. CNN just released its own Iowa poll, contradicting Monmouth’s numbers and insisting “Trump Towers Over All.” Trump leads with 33% of likely GOP voters in CNN’s poll, followed by Cruz’s 20%, Ben Carson’s 16%, Marco Rubio’s 11% and Jeb Bush’s 4%.
“Donald Trump is way ahead,” gushed CNN’s Dana Bash, who will be one of the moderators at the network’s December 15 GOP debate. Trump is eight points up compared with just last month, she said of her network’s stats. Cruz is in second place but winning among evangelicals. Carson has tumbled seven points.
Asked to explain why CNN’s poll has numbers so different from Monmouth’s, Bash said Monmouth had sampled “mostly those who had gone to GOP primaries in Iowa in the past.” CNN went them one better, including those folks but “expanding” its sample to include people “who say they’re going to the caucus.” This, she suggested, makes CNN’s poll more accurate because “Trump appears to be drawing most of his support from new voters.”
GOP strategist Katie Packer, seated at Bash’s side, was not so sure. She agreed the CNN poll checked in with “self-proclaimed likely primary voters.” But, she cautioned: “They may intend to vote – which is a big difference from people that actually have a history of voting. … Caucuses are tough to get people to show up at. It’s not like showing up and just casting a vote. You have to stick it out for an evening; these things can last all night.”
PREVIOUSLY, 12:00 PM: With CNN’s GOP debate eight days away, cable news networks paid scant attention this morning to a new Monmouth University poll showing Texas Sen. Ted Cruz leading in Iowa among GOP voters for the first time.
Cruz now is polling at 24% among likely GOP voters, with a pretty commanding lead over Trump’s 19%. Trump is followed by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio with 17% and Ben Carson at 13%. And former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush way back at 6% in the state where the first nominating contest is 56 days away.
Cruz has rocketed 14% since Monmouth’s poll in October that showed Carson the front-runner in Iowa. Carson has plunged 19%, and his loss is credited with fueling Cruz’s gain. Iowa Rep. Steve King’s endorsement of Cruz also had an impact; nearly 20% of respondents said King’s endorsement made them more likely to back Cruz. Compared with the October poll, Trump also is up, though by just a hair (1%); Rubio climbed 7%. Evangelicals, a decisive voting bloc in Iowa, selected Cruz over Trump 30%-18%.
“Let’s not give up on Donald Trump just yet,” NBC News senior political editor Mark Murray told MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts this morning, in one of few short segments on the poll to be telecast on a cable news network. “My rule of thumb: One poll doesn’t make a trend,” he said. Cable news mostly has been wall-to-wall today with the latest news about a police shooting death in Chicago and reaction to President Obama’s Oval Office address last night.
We’re guessing Donald Trump prefers the CNN poll, based on his Twitter account:
But, just in case Monmouth got it right, Trump this afternoon issued a statement calling for the United States to block all Muslims from entering the country until he has time to figure things out.
“Without looking at the various polling data, it is obvious to anybody the hatred is beyond comprehension. Where this hatred comes from and why we will have to determine,” the GOP frontrunner said in his new policy statement.
“Until we are able to determine and understand this problem and the dangerous threat it poses, our country cannot be the victims of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in jihad, and have no sense of reason or respect for human life,” Trump wrote.
Then he tweeted: