Ted Cruz Continues to Gain Momentum in 2016 Race, Polls Find

Ted Cruz and Donald Trump appear to be neck-and-neck in Iowa.

ByABC News
December 13, 2015, 1:01 PM

— -- Two polls released today show Ted Cruz continuing to gain momentum in the 2016 Republican presidential primary, running neck-and-neck with Donald Trump in Iowa and inching up on the real estate mogul nationally.

Trump has a slight lead in the NBC/Wall Street Journal poll of Republican primary voters released today. According to that poll, he has 27 percent support nationally, while Cruz has 22 percent. Marco Rubio is in third, with 15 percent, while Ben Carson follows with 11 percent. Jeb Bush rounds out the top five with 7 percent, followed by Carly Fiorina at 5 percent. Mike Huckabee and Chris Christie each have 3 percent, while John Kasich and Rand Paul have 2 percent.

But in Iowa, recent polls have found Cruz either neck-and-neck with Trump or leading. A Fox News poll in Iowa of likely Republican caucus-goers released today shows Cruz with 28 percent, followed by Trump with 26 percent. This is within the poll's margin of error, essentially putting the two in a dead heat for frontrunner status.

Like the NBC poll, Rubio and Carson are in third and fourth, with 13 percent and 10 percent, respectively. Bush once again rounds out the top five, tying with Rand Paul for 5 percent. Christie and Fiorina each have 2 percent, while Huckabee, Kasich, and Pataki are polling at 1 percent.

The poll was conducted after Trump proposed to ban all Muslims from entering the United States.

Despite Trump remaining at the top of the heap in Iowa, 30 percent of those polled by Fox News said they would never support Trump for president. By contrast, only 6 percent said that about Cruz.

Trump fared better in the Fox News poll than he did in the Bloomberg/Des Moines Register poll released Saturday. In that poll, he trailed Cruz by 10 points, 31 percent to 21 percent.

At an Iowa campaign event the day before the poll was released, Trump bashed the register, anticipating numbers that weren’t in his favor.

"Every time the Des Moines Register does a poll, I always do badly," he said. "It's my opinion that they don’t do it properly because you know they poll like three or 400 people."

On the Democratic side, the Fox News poll shows Hillary Clinton leading Bernie Sanders by a wide margin, 50 percent to 36 percent.