- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Billionaire businessman Donald Trump has a narrow edge over his nearest 2016 GOP rival in the early state of Iowa, with Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas close behind after gaining 13 points of support since last month, according to a poll released Tuesday.

Mr. Trump was at 25 percent in the Quinnipiac University poll, with Mr. Cruz at 23 percent, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson at 18 percent and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida at 13 percent.

A Quinnipiac survey released last month had Mr. Carson in the lead at 28 percent, followed by Mr. Trump at 20 percent, Mr. Rubio at 13 percent and Mr. Cruz at 10 percent.

In the survey released Tuesday, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky was at 5 percent, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush was at 4 percent and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina was at 3 percent. No one else was above 2 percent.

“Last month, we said it was Dr. Ben Carson’s turn in the spotlight. Today, the spotlight turns to Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll. “The Iowa Republican Caucus has become a two-tiered contest: businessman Donald Trump and neurosurgeon Ben Carson lead on the outsider track, and Sens. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio lead among party insiders.”

Mr. Carson was still the best-liked candidate, with a favorable rating of 79 percent and an unfavorable rating of 15 percent.

Mr. Cruz had a 73 percent/15 percent favorable/unfavorable split, Mr. Rubio had a 70 percent/18 percent split, and Mr. Trump had a 59 percent/34 percent split.

Mr. Bush had a negative 39 percent/53 percent split, and topped the “no way” question with 26 percent. Twenty-three percent said they would definitely not support Mr. Trump.

Voters said Mr. Trump would be best at handling the economy, terrorism and taxes, while they gave Mr. Cruz the nod on foreign policy and illegal immigration.

Mr. Carson had a slight edge over Mr. Cruz on who would best handle social issues like abortion and same-sex marriage.

More than 80 percent said they are opposed to allowing Syrian refugees either into the U.S. or into Iowa, and 73 percent support sending U.S. ground troops to combat the Islamic State terrorist group in Iraq and Syria.

The survey was taken Nov. 16-22 — in the wake of the recent terrorist attacks in Paris.

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