Trump Edges Cruz in Iowa; His Supporters Think Japanese Internment Was Good; Clinton Still Well Ahead of Sanders In State

| Tom Jensen

PPP’s newest Iowa poll finds Donald Trump and Ted Cruz at the top of the heap with 28% and 25% respectively. Marco Rubio at 14% and Ben Carson at 10% are also in double digits with Jeb Bush at 7% the only other candidate who clears even 3%. Chris Christie, Carly Fiorina, and Mike Huckabee all hit that level with John Kasich and Rand Paul each getting 2%, Lindsey Graham and Rick Santorum each getting 1%, and Jim Gilmore and George Pataki both having literally no support.

Trump, Cruz, Rubio, and Bush have all seen varying increases in their support in the six weeks since we last polled Iowa. Cruz obviously has the most momentum, picking up 11 points from his 14% standing in early November. Trump has gained 6 points, Rubio 4 points, and Bush 2 points.

As we’ve been finding across the country for the last month Carson has seen the most serious downward arc in his support, dropping 11 points from his previous 21% standing. Huckabee’s dropped 3 points and Fiorina by 2 points as well.

There are a lot of divisions between where Cruz and Trump’s support is coming from. Among voters whose biggest concern is having a candidate who’s conservative on the issues Cruz leads with 33% to 26% for Trump and 15% for Carson. But with voters whose biggest concern is being able to beat a Democrat in the general election, Trump wins out with 31% to 20% each for Cruz and Rubio. Cruz leads Trump 31/30 with men, but Trump more than makes up for that with a 26/17 lead among women.  Cruz has a strong advantage with ‘very conservative’ voters at 37% to 25% for Trump and 14% for Carson but Trump leads based on his strength with moderates, with whom gets 42% to 14% each for Rubio and Bush.

It’s ironic that Trump leads with moderates, because the views of his supporters wouldn’t be considered moderate by most standards:

-78% support Trump’s call to bans Muslims from entering the United States, to only 13% who oppose it. Overall 54% of Republicans support him on that to 28% who are opposed. Supporters of Cruz (62/20) and Carson (54/25) also favor a Muslim ban while backers of Rubio (28/48) and Bush (28/49) are opposed.

-65% of Trump voters think thousands of Arabs in New Jersey cheered the collapse of the World Trade Center, to only 11% who don’t think that happened. Overall 43% of Republicans think that event occurred to 29% who don’t. Supporters of Carson (44/10) and Cruz (45/26) agree with Trump’s that it happened while those of Rubio (24/47) and Bush (12/62) say it didn’t.

-59% of Trump voters support a national database of Muslims, to 18% who are opposed. Republicans as a whole are evenly divided on that issue, 40/40. Carson supporters (42/38) join with Trump’s in wanting a Muslim database but those of Cruz (38/42), Rubio (32/48), and Bush (19/62) are all against it.

-45% of Trump voters want to shut down the mosques in the United States, to only 23% who are opposed to doing that. Overall just 27% of Republicans support that to 45% who are opposed though. Supporters of all the other major GOP candidates are opposed to shutting down mosques- it’s 32/48 with Carson backers, 25/44 with those of Cruz, 9/66 with Rubio voters, and 9/69 with Bush’s.

-Finally as long as we were at it we decided we’d ask people if they thought Japanese internment had been a good idea. Among Trump voters 48% say they support the use of internment during World War II, to only 21% who say they oppose it. Overall just 29% of Republicans support that to 39% opposed, and supporters of all the other candidates are against it- 29/33 with Cruz voters, 23/54 with Rubio’s, 12/48 with Carson’s, and 13/56 with Bush’s.

Trump’s positions aren’t hurting him for now but if he ever does falter Cruz is very well positioned to benefit. Besides his overall second place position Cruz is the most broadly popular of the candidates in Iowa, with a 68/20 favorability rating. He’s also the most frequent second choice of Iowa voters at 19% to 12% each for Carson and Rubio, and 11% for Trump. When you combine first and second choices Cruz leads with 44% to 39% for Trump, 26% for Rubio, and 22% for Carson. Cruz is specifically by far and away the second choice of Trump voters at 36% to 14% for Carson with no one else hitting double digits.

Quick notes on some other hopefuls:

-Bush has the highest negatives of any of the candidates with 47% seeing him unfavorably to only 35% who have a positive view. He continues to particularly have a credibility issue on the right- with ‘very conservative’ voters his favorability is 24/61 and just 2% of voters within that group favor him for the nomination.

-What we’re continuing to find with Rubio right now is that he’s sort of in a holding pattern. When we polled Iowa last month he was in 4th place with a 60/20 favorability rating. Now thanks to the collapse of Carson he’s in 3rd place with a nearly identical 59/22 favorability. He’s not getting much momentum but he’s at least not falling apart either.

-Carson’s not just losing out on people saying he’s their first choice- he’s had a general decline in his image with GOP voters. Last month he had a +61 (74/13) favorability, that’s now dropped to +40 at 63/23. His combined first and second choice support has dropped from 40% down to 22%.

-John Kasich’s just really not making an impact. A plurality of GOP voters- 41%- don’t even have an opinion about him one way or the other. Among voters who do have one it’s quite negative with only 22% seeing him favorably to 37% with a negative view.

-Mike Huckabee on the other hand is very popular with the Republican base. 64% see him favorably to just 21% with a negative view, making him the most broadly liked hopeful other than Cruz. That goodwill just isn’t translating into support for the nomination for him though.

On the Democratic side Hillary Clinton continues to be the clear favorite in Iowa. She’s at 52% to 34% for Bernie Sanders and 7% for Martin O’Malley. Sanders leads 47/40 with younger voters, but that’s not enough to make up for Clinton holding a 64/20 advantage with seniors. She leads by pretty similar margins of 19 points with liberals at 56/37 and 22 points with moderates at 52/30. And she also has comparable leads with both women (21 points at 55/34) and men (15 points at 49/34). Clinton’s favorability rating is 73/19 while Sanders’ comes in at 65/23.

Full results here

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