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Ted Cruz Closes In on Trump in New National Poll

February 17, 2016

Presidential Candidate Ted Cruz Holds South Carolina Campaign Rally With Rick PerryPresidential Candidate Ted Cruz Holds South Carolina Campaign Rally With Rick Perry
Ted Cruz campaigning in South CarolinaPhotograph by Bloomberg via Getty Images

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is closing in on Donald Trump in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, beating the billionaire by a narrow two percentage points in a new national poll.

Although Cruz’s lead in the new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll is within its 4.9 percentage point margin of error, the fact that Cruz is this close is notable since Trump has maintained such a strong lead over opponents for several months. The poll has Cruz as the first choice of 28% of Republican primary voters, while Trump is behind with 26%.

The two are followed by Sen. Marco Rubio (17%), Ohio Gov. John Kasich (11%), Ben Carson (10%) and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (4%).

There may be good news for Rubio here; as Cruz and Trump continue to tangle in the polls, his stock keeps on growing—some 70% of GOP primary voters could see themselves supporting him and he bests Trump in a head-to-head matchup 57% to 41%.

Trump held a 13-point lead over Cruz last month, but this poll was conducted after Saturday’s GOP debate in South Carolina, where the billionaire wasbooed several times by the audience. Other national surveys show Trump still in the lead, but the NBC/WSJ poll appears to be one of the few conducted after the debate.

NBC/WSJ conducted the poll from Feb. 14 to Feb. 16 with input from 800 registered voters, of which 400 were Republican primary voters.

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