The survey also finds retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson sliding dramatically as Cruz rises in the Hawkeye State.
Trump tops the poll with 25 percent support, followed closely by Cruz at 23 percent.
Behind them are Carson and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, polling at 18 and 13 percent respectively.
Cruz’s numbers are up significantly from Quinnipiac’s Oct. 22 poll that showed Cruz at just 10 percent in Iowa. In that poll, Carson led the pack with 28 percent, followed by Trump at 20 percent.
“Last month, we said it was Dr. Ben Carson’s turn in the spotlight. Today, the spotlight turns to Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas,” Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, said in a statement.
Lower down the rankings, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul got 5 percent, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush got 4 percent, and former HP CEO Carly Fiorina got 3 percent.
The poll also found that Iowa likely Republican caucus participants overwhelmingly oppose allowing Syrian refugees into the U.S. by 81-15 percent.
The poll of 600 likely GOP caucus-goers was taken from Nov. 16-22 and had a margin of error of 4 percentage points.
Now, the spotlight turns to Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas. The Iowa Republican Caucus has become a two-tiered contest: Businessman Donald Trump and neurosurgeon Ben Carson lead on the outsider track, and Sens. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio lead among party insiders,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.
Brown, though, pointed out that winning in Iowa is no guarantee of winning the primary election, as Huckabee won the GOP caucus in 2008 and Santorum in 2012, but “both were quickly gone from those nomination fights as the primary calendar moved to larger states.”
Cruz’s Iowa numbers are in line with other polls released in recent days, including a New CBS News Poll that showed he’d replaced Carson in second place, with the retired neurosurgeon slipping into third place.
Meanwhile, Carson received the top favorability rating, at 79-15 percent, followed by 73-15 percent for Cruz, 70-18 percent for Rubio, and 59-34 percent for Trump.
Jeb Bush’s numbers, though, continued to prove disappointing. He had a negative 39-53 percent ranking, and 26 percent of the caucus-goers said they “would definitely not support him,” with another 23 percent saying they would not support Trump.
Meanwhile, just five percent said they would not support Cruz, who got the best numbers in that category:Trump, 23 percent;
- Cruz, 5 percent;
- Carson, 9 percent;
- Rubio, 7 percent;
- Paul, 12 percent;
- Bush, 26 percent;
- Fiorina, 10 percent;
- Christie, 14 percent;
- Huckabee, 10 percent;
- Santorum, 9 percent;
- John Kasich, 19 percent;
- Gilmore, 11 percent;
- Graham, 15 percent;
- Pataki, 14 percent
The poll showed 24 percent of voters said the economy and jobs are the most important issues determining who will get their vote, followed by 15 percent who said terrorism and foreign policy, 11 percent on the federal deficit, and 10 percent for immigration.
On the economy, 49 percent of the voters said Trump is best, followed by 11 percent for Cruz. Carson, Rubio, and Fiorina were picked by six percent each.