- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 4, 2016

Businessman Donald Trump’s support has gone down nine points since December, according to a poll on the 2016 GOP field taken after Mr. Trump’s second-place finish in Iowa to Sen. Ted Cruz, who was nipping at Mr. Trump’s heels along with Sen. Marco Rubio.

Mr. Trump still had the lead at 25 percent support, but Mr. Cruz and Mr. Rubio, who finished third in Iowa, were close behind at 21 percent each, according to the national poll from the Democratic-leaning firm Public Policy Polling conducted Tuesday and Wednesday.

“Donald Trump’s really seen some cratering in his support this week,” said Dean Debnam, president of Public Policy Polling. “A key part of his message has always been that he’s a winner and now that he’s lost something Republicans- and especially conservatives- aren’t finding him as compelling as they did a few weeks ago.”

Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson was at 11 percent, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Ohio Gov. John Kasich were at 5 percent each. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, who announced Wednesday he is suspending his campaign, was also at 5 percent.

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie were at 3 percent apiece.

Mr. Trump was in third place among “very conservative” voters at 19 percent, with Mr. Cruz at 34 percent and Mr. Rubio at 22 percent.

Mr. Trump’s favorability also dropped from a 58 percent/34 percent favorable/unfavorable split to a 48 percent/41 percent split in the latest poll.

Mr. Rubio, who picked up 8 points of support since December, would lead a four-candidate field with 32 percent support, with Mr. Trump at 31 percent, Mr. Cruz at 23 percent, and Mr. Bush at 8 percent.

In a three-way race, Mr. Rubio was at 34 percent, Mr. Trump was at 33 percent, and Mr. Cruz was at 25 percent.

Mr. Rubio also beat Mr. Trump by 12 points in a head-to-head matchup, and beat Mr. Cruz by 6 points one-on-one. Mr. Cruz, who was at 18 percent support in December, beat Mr. Trump by 6 points in a head-to-head contest.

Mr. Carson and Mr. Rubio had the best favorability numbers; Mr. Carson had a 66 percent/23 percent split, and Mr. Rubio had a 64 percent/21 percent split. Mr. Cruz was close behind with a 58 percent/28 percent split, and Mrs. Fiorina posted a 57 percent/23 percent split.

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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