- The Washington Times
Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has picked up 11 points of support among likely Iowa likely GOP caucus-goers since last month to move ahead of Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, according to a poll released Wednesday that indicates Mr. Trump could need a turnout significantly higher than in 2012 to win the state outright.

Mr. Trump was at 30 percent support in the Monmouth University poll released Wednesday, followed by Mr. Cruz at 23 percent, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida at 16 percent, and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson at 10 percent.

No other candidate got more than 4 percent support.

In a Monmouth poll released last month, Mr. Cruz had been in the lead at 24 percent, followed by Mr. Trump at 19 percent, Mr. Rubio at 17 percent, and Mr. Carson at 13 percent.

“Turnout is basically what separates Trump and Cruz right now,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, New Jersey. “Trump’s victory hinges on having a high number of self-motivated, lone wolf caucus-goers show up Monday night.”

Based on past voting history and voters’ stated intentions to caucus this year, the poll projects turnout will be about 170,000 voters - well above the GOP turnout of 122,000 from four years ago.

If the turnout projection was decreased to 130,000 voters, that would put Mr. Trump and Mr. Cruz into a tie at 26 percent, with Mr. Rubio at 15 percent and Mr. Carson at 12 percent, according to the polling.

The projections also showed Mr. Trump’s lead widening with a turnout of 200,000. In that scenario, Mr. Trump led Mr. Cruz by 11 points, 32 percent to 21 percent, with Mr. Rubio at 16 percent and Mr. Carson at 9 percent.

Mr. Cruz did hold a 5-point advantage over Mr. Trump among Republicans who have a past history of voting in party contests, 28 percent to 23 percent, with Mr. Rubio at 14 percent and Mr. Carson at 13 percent.

Evangelical voters also backed Mr. Cruz over Mr. Trump by a 32 percent to 25 percent margin, and “very conservative” voters preferred Mr. Cruz to Mr. Trump, 36 percent to 27 percent. Mr. Cruz also led among Tea Party supporters, getting 41 percent to Mr. Trump’s 27 percent.

Mr. Trump, meanwhile, led among “somewhat conservative” voters, moderates and non-evangelical voters.

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

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