A new national poll out from University of Massachusetts confirms what we are seeing in other polls. The contest is a four-man race but a race with two distinct levels of candidates.
The top level are the two outsiders, Donald Trump and Ben Carson. Between the two of them they claim 53% of GOP primary voters. The second tier is [mc_name name=’Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’C001098′ ] with 13% and [mc_name name=’Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’R000595′ ] with 9%. With the 6.4% Margin of Error in this poll we can infer that Cruz and Rubio are actually very close together though Cruz has an advantage.
There are two additional features of the UMass poll. They match respondents to the registered voter file. When only responses by known registered voters are evaluated the lineup becomes Carson 29%, Trump 28%, Cruz 17% and Rubio 9%.
The pollsters also give respondents the option of identifying their top five candidates in order:
Like any other poll at this state of play, this one has to be taken with a huge heaping tablespoon of salt. But is does give us one more data point that shows us how the contest is shaping up.