It’s only one poll, and it is PPP, so let’s wait for other similar results before anointing Marco Rubio as a frontrunner. But he is having a good week so far.
Marco Rubio is catching up to the field in the Republican primary race, with a new poll showing the Florida senator slipping past Donald Trump and Ted Cruz in a three-way contest.
In a three-candidate poll, Public Policy Polling finds Rubio with 34 percent, Trump 33, and Cruz 25.
When asked to pick among all the Republicans still running for president, Trump hangs on to the lead with 25 percent. Cruz and Rubio are close behind with 21 percent each. Ben Carson, whose outsider candidacy has faded since the calendar hit 2016, comes in fourth with 11 percent.
“Rubio is the candidate with the real momentum in the race,” PPP’s release states.
As to the overall poll numbers, Trump is rapidly approaching freefall.
Trump remained in first place in the survey, which was conducted by the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling and was set to be released later Thursday. He received 25% of the vote from Republican-primary voters nationally. Cruz and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida tied for second at 21% apiece.
Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson grabbed 11%. None of the remaining Republican candidates received more than 5% of the vote.
It was a stark contrast from the national survey that Public Policy Polling released in mid-December. That poll found Trump, at 34%, maintaining a large national lead over both Cruz (18%) and Rubio (13%). Rubio seemed to benefit at Trump’s expense with a stronger-than-expected showing in the Iowa caucuses, in which he nearly caught up to Trump. His poll standing was up 8 points from December.
Trump seems to have a sizable lead still in New Hampshire, but if his numbers keep dwindling and if New Hampshire becomes a dogfight, his support may well collapse as sober voters begin looking toward a viable general election candidate.
The squabbling between Trump and Cruz may allow Rubio to ascend above the fray, although we’ll see how he reacts in Saturday’s debate when most of the remaining candidates will be gunning for him.