Cruz earned 24 percent of support among likely caucus-goers, with 19 percent opting for Donald Trump, whose polling advantage in the state has dwindled in recent weeks. In a Quinnipiac University survey conducted in mid-November, Trump held a slim 25 percent to 23 percent advantage over Cruz, while retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson finished with 18 percent.
In this survey, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio finished third with 17 percent, followed by 13 percent for Carson (a 19-point drop from October), 6 percent for former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, 4 percent for Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, 3 percent for former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina and 2 percent for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. All other candidates finished with 1 percent or less support, with 4 percent undecided and 1 percent describing themselves as “uncommitted.”
Christian conservatives appear to be looking for an outsider they can trust who is decisive but not as mean sounding as Trump can sound. First they dated Carson. But after Paris and San Bernardino, they are prioritizing someone who they can see as commander-in-chief.
Maggie Gallagher is a senior fellow at the American Principles Project.