This news is only hours away from complete irrelevance, but the latest Iowa poll — taken entirely after the last GOP debate — shows that the race is now a three-way tossup between Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio. The Emerson College Polling Society has Trump at 27, Cruz at 26, and Rubio at 22. The poll found that Trump’s decision to skip the debate hurt him:
The poll found the decision by front runner Donald Trump to skip the last Republican debate had a negative impact on his support: – 39% of GOP caucus voters said they were less likely to vote for Trump as a result of the boycott, while 14% viewed his absence as enhancing the likelihood they would vote for Trump. Fifty-two percent (52%) judged Trump’s boycott as unimportant in impacting their vote. “Since our January 21 poll, Trump’s favorability has decreased by 10 points,” said ECPS data analyst Matt Couture, and his decision to boycott the debate seems to be a factor in this decrease”.
The Emerson poll isn’t the only survey showing a three-way race. Opinion Savvy released its own post-debate poll showing Trump’s support plummeting all the way down to 20 percent, with Cruz and Rubio deadlocked at 19.
The Rubio surge theory had taken a hit after the vaunted Des Moines Register poll put him well behind Cruz and Trump, but the two post-debate polls indicate the surge just might be real. We’ll find out soon enough.