According to the Monmouth University poll released Monday, Cruz has taken a slight lead. But, the CNN/ORC poll also released, stated that Trump is leading by 13 points in the Hawkeye state.
In the Monmouth poll, Cruz received 24 percent of the vote and Trump received only 19 percent. While, the likely Republican Caucus-goers participating in the survey, put Florida Senator Marco Rubio in third and Dr. Ben Carson in fourth place with 13 percent of the vote, down 19 points since the last Monmouth Iowa Poll, which was released on Oct. 22.
In the CNN/ORC Iowa poll, Trump has jumped seven points from the last CNN/ORC poll taken Nov. 6 and holds a commanding lead over Cruz, who also moved up.
The CNN/ORC poll was conducted before and after the San Bernardino shooting occurred, whereas the Monmouth poll was conducted last week after the shooting. The conflicting numbers show a GOP race in Iowa with two front-runners, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz.
Regarding the discrepancy between the CNN/ORC Poll and the Monmouth University Poll, CNN said,“The Monmouth poll interviewed a sample drawn from registered voter lists that primarily comprised those who had voted in state-level Republican primary elections in previous election years. Among those voters, Monmouth found Cruz and Rubio ahead of Trump and Carson. Among voters who were not regular GOP primary voters, however, the poll found Trump ahead, similar to the CNN/ORC poll's finding.”
Individual front-runners aside, the polls show that with less than 60 days to the Iowa Caucus, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is gaining momentum in Iowa seeing larger numbers at his events and increased fundraising. There's a growing consensus among Iowa's conservatives that they must elect someone this time around who can get past the early voting states as Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum struggled to do.
"I always expected that Cruz would do well in Iowa. Either win or finish in the top three,” Richard Schwarm, the former chairman of the Iowa Republican Party told ABC News. "The Trump phenomenon took us all by surprise, but the Cruz phenomenon has not. I don’t think he’s peaking too early.”
Cruz reacted to the Monmouth University Poll Monday while on the campaign trail in Greenville, South Carolina.
“It is very encouraging. We’re seeing a continuation of the energy and momentum that has been gradually and steadily building in Iowa and South Carolina and New Hampshire all across the country. And from the beginning, the approach of this campaign was to build a campaign on a foundation of stone, not a foundation of sand, following a biblical principle of systematically unifying and bringing together conservatives and we’re seeing that happening powerfully in the state of Iowa, it’s very encouraging. And we’ve got a long way to go, but it’s certainly true that going up is better than going down,” Cruz said.
At Trump’s Davenport, Iowa rally on Saturday, Ron Rockwell of Clinton, Iowa said he’s on the fence between Trump and Cruz, but leaning toward Cruz. “Senator Cruz is a true conservative. I believe he supports the constitution more than the other candidates. Donald Trump on the other hand, is a mild conservative,” said Rockwell.
Cruz’s fundraising prowess has enabled his campaign to add more field staff in Iowa and the senator himself has hit the ground harder, making five trips to the Hawkeye state in the past month and a half. Cruz's campaign and a super PAC supporting him have also begun running radio and television ads in Iowa and Cruz's campaign was given a boost when Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) endorsed him last month.
Senator Cruz said that despite his surge ahead of Donald Trump in a newly released Monmouth poll, he has no intention to go after his fiercest competition in Iowa.
"I like and respect Donald Trump, I continue to like and respect Donald Trump. While other candidates in this race have gone out of their way to throw rocks at him, to insult him, i have consistently declined to do so and I have no intention of changing that now,” Cruz told reporters.
ABC News' Jessica Hopper contributed to this report.