Latest NBC/WSJ/Marist Poll-- Cruz Leads Iowa; Trump Leads NH; Sanders Leads In Both

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Okay, there is a new poll out by NBC, the Wall Street Journal and the Marist Institute. This is right on the heels of a FoxNews poll covering those two states and the trends remain. All previous caveats about polling an electorate that is uncertain and may not even be able to vote remain in effect. Let’s get down to business.


Iowa GOP top line.

Cruz 28, Trump 24, Rubio 13, Carson 11, Bush 4, Paul 5, Christie 3, Huckabee 2, Fiorina 3, Kasich 2, Santorum 0.

If we flash back to the FoxNews poll we have

Cruz 27, Trump 23, Rubio 15, Carson 9, Bush 7, Huckabee 2, Paul 5, Christie 4, Fiorina 1, Kasich 1, Santorum 1.

Back just before Christmas, Gravis also did an Iowa poll, Gravis, as you know, was the gold standard for Iowa polling in 2014.

Cruz 31, Trump 31, Rubio 9, Carson 7, Bush 4, Huckabee 4, Paul 1, Christie 2, Fiorina 3, Kasich 2, Santorum 0.

Based on the trend, barring an unforeseen catastrophe, Ted Cruz is going to win the Iowa caucuses. I would imagine his spread will be more than 4 points over Trump just based on the electorate each is appealing to. The critical wild card is how well does Rubio do? If he ends up in fourth place, he could be effectively dead in the water. And this could happen easily because I can see the Carson campaign being in total disarray by February and those voters have to go somewhere unless they just stay home.

Iowa Democrat topline.

Sanders trails Clinton 48-44. That is within the margin of error and voter intensity says Sanders could easily pull an upset victory. The last Democrat poll of Iowa, by Gravis, had Clinton leading 49-31. This Sanders surge reflects what we have seen happening on the ground.

New Hampshire GOP top line.

Trump 30, Rubio 14, Cruz 10, Bush 9, Christie 12, Kasich 9, Paul 5, Carson 4, Fiorina 3, Santorum 0, Huckabee 0


Compare and contrast to FoxNews

Trump 33, Rubio 15, Cruz 12, Christie 5, Kasich 7, Bush 9, Carson 4, Fiorina 3, Paul 5, Huckabee 0, Santorum 0.

and PPP

Trump 29, Rubio 15, Cruz 10, Christie 11, Kasich 11, Bush 10, Carson 4, Fiorina 4, Paul 3, Huckabee 1, Santorum 1.

Again very consistent results. There are two real wildcards here that will tell us a lot about what the primary season will look like. I posted yesterday on a study that indicates as much as 20% of Trump’s support may come from pissed off Democrats. In New Hampshire, anyone who was still registered as a Democrat by the primary filing deadline (November 20) must vote in the Democrat primary. Trump does not, as far as anyone can tell, have much of a ground game or GOTV effort. If the study is correct, the poll could be overstating Trump’s support substantially. The second wildcard is second place. Rubio, Cruz, Bush, Christie, and Kasich should be considered as in a statistical tie. A second place finish by Bush gives him new life. Fourth place or worse kills him. If Rubio does not finish second, and do so convincingly, he may be in serious trouble. A third place finish in Iowa and NH and with Nevada looking more and more like a third place finish, too, Rubio could be fatally wounded.

New Hampshire Democrat top line.

Sanders 50, Clinton 46. This is approaching outside Margin of Error. FoxNews  had Sanders leading Clinton 50-37. Home field advantage (sorta) and voter intensity says Sanders wins New Hampshire handily.


Head-to-head match ups.

This poll does the head-to-heads by state.

Clinton vs Trump

Iowa: Clinton 48, Trump 40
New Hampshire: Clinton 45, Trump 44
FoxNews National: Clinton 44, Trump 47

Clinton vs Cruz

Iowa: Clinton 43, Cruz 47
New Hampshire: Clinton 44, Cruz 48
FoxNews National: Clinton 43, Cruz 50

Clinton vs Rubio

Iowa: Clinton 42, Rubio 47
New Hampshire: Clinton 40, Rubio 52
FoxNews National: Clinton 41, Rubio 50

The general trend shows a Trump/Clinton match up would be very tight. Personally, I’d give the edge to Trump simply because he probably won’t be indicted by the time November rolls around and he would work for the win. Both Cruz and Rubio have leads at or outside the margin of error. Rubio appears to be stronger but both Cruz and Rubio are within margin of error of each other.

Ironically, Sanders could very well be the stronger general election candidate for the Democrats:

In Iowa:

  • Clinton leads Trump by eight points among registered voters (48 percent to 40 percent), but Sanders is ahead of him by 13 (51 percent to 38 percent);
  • Cruz tops Clinton by four points (47 percent to 43 percent), but Sanders beats him by five (47 percent to 42 percent);
  • And up Rubio is up by five points over Clinton (47 percent to 42 percent), while he’s tied with Sanders (44 percent to 44 percent).

In New Hampshire:

  • Clinton is ahead of Trump by just one point (45 percent to 44 percent), but Sanders tops him by 19 points (56 percent to 37 percent);
  • Cruz beats Clinton by four points (48 percent to 44 percent), but Sanders leads him by another 19 points (55 percent to 36 percent);
  • And Rubio bests Clinton by 12 points (52 percent to 40 percent), while Sanders leads him by nine points (50 percent to 41 percent).

Too bad the party apparatchiks elected to have a coronation rather than a primary.

If these numbers hold, this could be a very good year for the GOP. Odds are that Clinton will have two primary losses when the dust clears. The critical question becomes how well Rubio does in New Hampshire. A strong second place showing and it will be a three man fight for a while. If Rubio finishes third or fourth in New Hampshire we are going right into a Cruz vs. Trump battle.


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