Cruz surges to 10-point lead over Trump in Iowa

Posted at 7:58 PM, Dec 12, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-12 19:58:23-05

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Ted Cruz has soared ahead of Donald Trump in a new Iowa poll, opening up a 10-point lead in the critical first-in-the-nation voting state.

The Des Moines Register and Bloomberg Politics poll released on Saturday finds Cruz commanding 31% of likely Republican caucus-goers in the state, 10 points ahead of Trump, who received 21%.

For Cruz, the poll represents a massive 21-point jump from a survey conducted by the two outlets in October.

"We have more work to do, but we can definitively say the message is working," Cruz's Iowa state director, Bryan English, told CNN in a statement.

Cruz and Trump will face off Tuesday in Las Vegas at the next Republican presidential debate, sponsored by CNN.

Ben Carson, once a hit with evangelical voters in the Hawkeye State, dropped to third place with 13%.

Marco Rubio has 10% which puts him in fourth place -- which is where he was in October. Jeb Bush has 6% -- a 1% increase from two months ago.

Rand Paul, Mike Huckabee and Chris Christie all are tied with 3%. The rest of the field, including Carly Fiorina and John Kasich, is at 2% or less.

The poll of 400 likely Republican caucus-goers was conducted between December 7 and 10, after Trump called for a ban on allowing Muslim immigrants into the U.S. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percentage points.

Trump has often derided the Des Moines Register, Iowa's largest newspaper, as biased against him. He blasted the poll in a tweet Saturday night, though he appears to have mistakenly said the paper was biased "towards" him instead of against his candidacy.

"New CNN Iowa poll --- Trump 33, Cruz 20. Everyone else way down! Don't trust Des Moines Register poll - biased towards Trump!," he tweeted.

A CNN/ORC poll released on Monday found that the real estate mogul had 33% support among likely GOP caucus-goers in Iowa, followed by Cruz at 20%. Nationally, a CNN/ORC poll released earlier this month found the brash billionaire sitting atop the GOP field with 36%, 20 points ahead of Cruz, the GOP's runner-up.

CNN's Sunlen Serfaty contributed to this report.

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