January 12, 2016, 12:42 pm
Poll: Trump has slight lead over Cruz in Iowa

By Lisa Hagen

Donald Trump narrowly leads Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) by 2 points in Iowa, a new poll released Tuesday finds.

A new Public Policy Polling survey found that the GOP presidential front-runner leads Cruz, 28 to 26 percent, which is within the margin of error, a few weeks ahead of the first-in-the-nation caucus.

That brings Trump into a tie for leader in Iowa, according to the RealClearPolitics average of polls. Cruz had been in the lead since mid-December.

The poll shows that the “birther claims” surrounding the Texas senator could hurt the Texas senator's chances, with 47 percent saying a person born in another country shouldn’t be president, compared to 32 percent who say it should be allowed. But the survey finds that 46 percent of those polled know that Cruz wasn’t born in the United States.

Trump has recently questioned Cruz’s eligibility to run for president because he was born in Canada. But Cruz has pushed back that beause his mother is American, he is a natural born citizen, which the Constitution stipulates is a requirement when running for president.

“In a race where only 2 points separate Cruz and Trump the birther issue could really make a difference in the final stretch,” Dean Debnam, president of Public Policy Polling, said in a release. “Republican voters generally don’t think someone born outside the country should be President and that’s why Trump is milking it for all it’s worth.”

The other GOP hopefuls trail far behind the two leading candidates. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) sits in third place with 13 percent, followed by retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson with 8 percent, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush with 6 percent. The rest of the candidates don’t register above 3 percent.

Cruz received the highest favorability rating of any candidate, 69 percent to 18 percent unfavorable, compared to Trump's 54 percent favorable to 34 percent unfavorable rating.

The poll was conducted from Jan. 8-10 and surveyed 530 likely GOP caucus goers and the margin of error was 4.3 percent percentage points.