Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas has a 3-point edge over businessman Donald Trump in a new poll on the 2016 GOP field in Iowa, as the two men jockey for front-runner status in the Hawkeye State.
Mr. Cruz was the first choice of 25 percent of likely GOP caucus-goers, followed by Mr. Trump at 22 percent in the Bloomberg Politics/Des Moines Register poll released Wednesday.
Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida was next at 12 percent and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson was at 11 percent. No other candidate was above 5 percent.
Mr. Trump picked up one point of support compared to a Bloomberg/Register poll released in December, while Mr. Cruz has dropped 6 points.
“It’s hard to say Donald Trump is back, because his support grew only 1 point,” said J. Ann Selzer, founder of Selzer & Co, which conducted the poll. “It seems more a matter of slippage for Cruz. He has upside potential, for sure. But so does Trump, just in different ways.”
Mr. Cruz has faced a barrage of attacks in recent weeks, and Mr. Trump has said Mr. Cruz’s Canadian birthplace is hanging over the Texas Republican’s potential nomination.
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But just 15 percent of likely caucus-goers in the poll said they’re bothered by the fact that Mr. Cruz was born outside the United States — about half of those Mr. Trump’s own supporters.
Mr. Cruz was born in Calgary and his mother was a U.S. citizen at the time. He says the legal issue over whether he’s a “natural born citizen” of the U.S. and eligible to be president is clear and straightforward.