Trump's numbers in Iowa aren't looking so good anymore. The Chad Hasty Show airs 8:30-11am on 790AM KFYO.

Alex Wong, Getty Images
Alex Wong, Getty Images

Cruz Surges

A new poll in Iowa shows that Senator Ted Cruz is now leading his first early state according to the Washington Times. Donald Trump is behind Cruz but in danger of falling into third place.

A Monmouth University poll said Cruz has 24 percent support among likely Republican caucus-goers in Iowa, a 14-point jump for the Texas senator since October.

Trump won 19 percent in the poll, giving Cruz a 5 percent lead that's outside the margin of error.

Much of Cruz's support stems from evangelical Iowans who back the conservative senator 30 percent to Trump's 18 percent. Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson previously led the GOP field in support among this coveted demographic, but now earns just 15 percent support among evangelicals, putting him behind Cruz, Trump, and Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. (16 percent).

Cruz also carries a substantial lead among voters affiliated with the Tea Party. The freshman senator earns 36 percent support compared to Trump (20 percent), Carson (17 percent) and Rubio (11 percent).

Cruz's rise can also be attributed, in part, to his recent endorsement from Iowa Rep. Steve King. Roughly 20 percent of Republicans in the Hawkeye State said King's support makes them more inclined to back Cruz come Feb. 1, including 7 percent who claim King's endorsement makes them "a lot more likely."

Rubio has met with some difficulties while trying to woo Tea Party supporters after his role in the 2013 Gang of Eight immigration bill, which proposed a 13-year pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants in the United States. While that bill damaged his reputation among the hard-line conservative movement, the Florida senator leads the GOP field among women in Iowa with 23 percent support.

That support helped keep Rubio in third place in the poll. He follows right behind Trump's 19 percent with 17 percent in the poll. Carson, who had a commanding lead in Iowa less than two months ago, has plummeted to 13 percent. At 6 percent support, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is the only other Republican contender to poll above 5 percent.

According to the poll, Rubio is the most-liked Republican candidate in Iowa, as 70 percent of voters hold a positive view of the Florida senator. Cruz and Carson each boast a net-positive favorability rating of 67-19 percent, while Trump is viewed favorably by 54 percent of voters and unfavorably by 36 percent. Bush, meanwhile, has a net-negative favorability rating of 38-45 percent.

In another poll released Monday afternoon, Trump was still in first place but Ted Cruz was in second in Iowa and trending the right way according to CNN.

Overall, Trump has 33% support among likely GOP caucusgoers, followed by Cruz at 20% with Carson at 16%, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio at 11% and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush at 4%. The new poll shows Trump up 8 points, Cruz up 9, while Carson has faded by 7 points, compared with the last CNN/ORC poll, conducted in late October and early November.

The poll finds a markedly different landscape among potential GOP caucusgoers than another Iowa poll released Monday by Monmouth University. The difference between the two seems to stem primarily from sampling.

The Monmouth poll interviewed a sample drawn from registered voter lists that primarily comprised those who had voted in state-level Republican primary elections in previous election years. Among those voters, Monmouth found Cruz and Rubio ahead of Trump and Carson. Among voters who were not regular GOP primary voters, however, the poll found Trump ahead, similar to the CNN/ORC poll's finding.

Watch for Cruz and Rubio to be battling it out in Iowa from here on out. It wouldn't surprise me if we see Trump continue his downward spiral and be in third place pretty quickly. The poll is obviously great news for Cruz and should give him some much needed momentum as we head into Christmas.

Will Trump attack Cruz now? We will all wait to see if that actually happens.

Hateful Speech

According to POLITICO, the Attorney General of the United States has clarified some earlier comments she made regarding hateful speech and Muslims.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch Monday appeared to recalibrate remarks she made last week that suggested the Justice Department could investigate speech deemed hostile towards Muslims.

"Of course, we prosecute deeds and not words," she said at a press conference Monday to announce an unrelated civil rights investigation into the Chicago Police Department.

Some conservatives criticized Lynch for her comments to a Muslim civil rights group, where she lamented "the ability of people to issue hateful speech of all types from the anonymity of a screen."

Speaking to a Muslim Advocates dinner in Arlington, Va., Lynch affirmed that "this is a country that is based upon free speech." However, she went on to suggest that the Justice Department would "take action" when such speech "edges towards violence, when we see the potential to lift...that mantle of anti-Muslim rhetoric."

First Amendment precedents generally protect speech, even hateful speech, from punishment unless the comments are intended to incite direct action against specific individuals or in a specific place.

Lynch's comments Monday seemed to better capture that balance by focusing on those who might act out, rather than those who may be fomenting trouble.

"We always have a concern when we see the rhetoric rising against any particular group in America, that it might inspire others to violent action — and that violent action is what we would have to deal with," Lynch told journalists at Justice Department headquarters. She also urged Americans "not to give into fear" in the wake of the apparent terrorist attack in California. "So, [what] we're focused on, obviously, is protecting all of the people under the ambit of the Department of Justice."

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