A new national poll from NBC/Wall Street Journal is out and it is more than surprising. Unless this poll has the most bizarre population sample ever chosen, the trends are little short of cataclysmic. Donald Trump leads with 27% of Republican primary voters (plus 4 points since the last poll). Ted Cruz is at 22% (plus 12 points since the last poll and very much in line with the last Iowa poll.). Marco Rubio is third at 15% (plus 4) and Ben Carson is in fourth place with 11%. This is down EIGHTEEN POINTS since the last poll and it, like Cruz’s ascent, parallels the Iowa poll.
As my colleague, Neil Stevens, pointed out last week, Ted Cruz is benefiting from Carson’s collapse, so is Trump, so is Rubio. It also shows that this is actually a three man race as all the air seems to be leaving the Ben Carson balloon.
A little deeper dive into the data finds some things we’ve talked about here at RedState:
First, Donald Trump has hit his ceiling. When you look at second, etc., choices Trump has basically been flat since September. Second, Ben Carson is dead-dead-dead. While he lost 18 as a first choice, he lost 22 as a possible second choice. This shows the people he is losing are not even considering him to be a second choice any longer.
One has to assume that Rubio is the second choice for more Bush-Fiorina-Christie-Kasich voters than either Trump or Cruz. Paul and Huckabee voters will probably gravitate to Cruz. So the primary is becoming a race for people to drop out. If Carson’s collapse is complete by New Hampshire, we can expect [mc_name name=’Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’C001098′ ] to start leading national polls as the biggest beneficiary. The longer Bush and Christie stay in the race, the harder it is going to be for Rubio to take a lead.