[guest post by Dana]
The Des Moines Register released polling results of a selection of likely Republican caucusgoers:
Trump stands at 28 percent, while rival Ted Cruz has slid to 23 percent. But there’s still a strong case for Cruz in this race — he’s more popular and respected than Trump, the final Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics Iowa Poll shows.
“The drill-down shows, if anything, stronger alignment with Cruz than Trump, except for the horse race,” said J. Ann Selzer, the pollster for the Iowa Poll.
According to those polled, this is where Trump is vulnerable:
It bothers 60 percent of likely caucusgoers that Trump supports using government powers to seize property. It bothers 56 percent that he supported abortion rights in the past and would not have banned late-term abortions.
As for Cruz, those polled didn’t like that he borrowed $1 million dollars and forgot to disclose it, as well as not supporting Renewable Fuel Standards.
The good news for Cruz is that he is the go-to guy for Trump, Rubio, and Carson supporters who may change their minds, and that’s not an insignificant number of voters:
…71 percent of Trump’s supporters say they’re certain they’ll vote for him, compared to just 29 percent who may yet switch, the Iowa Poll found. Among Rubio’s supporters, 47 percent were committed while 53 percent said they may switch to another candidate.
The poll also found that Cruz is the clear second choice of Rubio voters, by a two-to-one margin.
Therefore, it’s no surprise that the Cruz camp is putting a lot of money into negative ads airing this weekend which will focus primarily on Rubio’s support of amnesty.
And there is this:
GOP caucusgoers are more comfortable with Cruz winning the nomination, becoming president and representing the United States to the world than they are with Trump.
If the race eventually comes down to two Republicans, 53 percent say they would prefer Cruz as the nominee, not Trump. Just 35 percent would choose Trump in a one-on-one contest with Cruz.
In light of Trump and Cruz still holding first and second spot, the Des Moines Register amusingly describes the mounting concerns of the GOP establishment:
Mainstream Republicans, faced with seeing governors Jeb Bush and Chris Christie stalling and the grim reality looming of a victory by a smash-mouth game show host or an ultra-conservative obstructionist, have gravitated toward Marco Rubio.