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Carson Down, Cruz Up in New Iowa Poll

Ted Cruz has surged into a statistical tie with Donald Trump at the top of the GOP pack,
Image: Ted Cruz, Ben Carson
Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, left, speaks during the Presidential Family Forum as Ben Carson listens, Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)Charlie Neibergall / AP

A new poll of Iowa caucus-goers shows Ted Cruz surging into a statistical tie with Donald Trump at the top of the GOP pack, while Ben Carson has dropped 10 points since last month.

In the Quinnipiac University poll, Trump has the backing of 25 percent of Republicans, while Cruz has 23 percent. That's more than double the support Cruz garnered in the same poll last month. Carson is now in third place, with 18 percent.

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Four weeks ago, Carson stood in a dominant first place in the Iowa Quinnipiac survey, at 28 percent compared to Trump's 20 percent. His slip in the polls comes after several instances of appearing uninformed or confused about foreign policy issues - particularly in the wake of the Paris terror attacks on November 13.

Participants in the poll rated Cruz as the Republican candidate who can best handle foreign policy issues overall, with 24 percent giving him a top grade, compared to 18 percent for Trump. Asked specifically about terrorism, 30 percent said Trump was their top candidate, while 20 percent picked Cruz and 10 percent picked Marco Rubio.

Only five percent said Carson would be the top candidate to deal with terrorism.

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In the new poll, Rubio has 13 percent support, Rand Paul has five percent, Jeb Bush has four percent, and Carly Fiorina has three percent.

But a majority of GOP caucus-goers - 58 percent - say that they might change their mind about their 2016 pick before February's contest.

The poll of 600 likely Iowa Republican caucus participants was conducted November 16-22. The margin of error is +/- four percentage points.