It looks like Trump skipping the debate not only didn’t hurt him, it put him ahead in Iowa.
The most respected poll in Iowa, The Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics survey found Trump leading Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) 28% to 23% among likely GOP caucus-goers. After skipping the debate that was supposed to be his downfall, Trump appears to be on top. Trump has led Cruz in the last seven polls in Iowa.
The poll, conducted by veteran pollster J. Ann Selzer, also found Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) with 15% and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson at 10%.
However, that might not be the last word.
According to an Independent Journal Review poll conducted by Google Consumer Surveys, 64% of Republicans disagreed with Trump’s boycott. The poll was conducted among 1,963 likely Republican primary voters but they only polled those who watched Thursday’s Fox News/Google debate. What about the ones who didn’t watch? A lot of registered Republicans didn’t watch the debate in protest.
Reuters reported that Trump’s move was a good one. He didn’t have to suffer the videos and the attack questions, his main competitor had a bad night, he got to sit on his lead, and his event crosstown got a lot of buzz..
An IBD/TPP poll showed Trump’s lead shrinking by six points after his attacks on Cruz but that was before he skipped the debate. Trump was still ahead of Cruz 33.2% to 26.7% in Iowa; 31.7% to 12.6% in New Hampshire, and 36% to 19.7% in South Carolina. Rubio was allegedly starting to take supporters from Cruz.
According to The Register, there could be a “cliffhanger” on Monday night as 45% of the likely voters said they could be persuaded to change their minds.
Until the votes are counted, we won’t know a thing. Trump, however, is a phenomenon. He’s the dragon that can’t be slain.