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July 25, 2013 12:39 PM Rubio Swoons, Cruz Surges

By Ed Kilgore

There’s been a lot of talk about how Marco Rubio’s high-profile role on immigration reform in the Senate has hurt his standing in the First-in-the-Nation-Caucus State of Iowa. Meanwhile, Iowa conservatives reacted to Ted Cruz’s first appearance in the state last weekend with extraordinary excitement.

Now Public Policy Polling offers some evidence that the Rubio’s swoon and Cruz’s surge—along with an earlier and sustained surge for Rand Paul—are a national phenomenon:

PPP’s newest look at the Republican field for 2016 finds some big changes from our previous polling. Marco Rubio, who had led all of our polling since December, has dropped all the way to 6th place. Rand Paul now has the lead nationally, to go along with the leads he posted in our most recent Iowa and New Hampshire polls. And Ted Cruz has already hit double digits.

As recently as April, PPP showed Rubio with 21% support nationally among Republicans. Now he’s down to 10%, two points behind Cruz, who wasn’t even listed in the April poll. Paul has actually lost a point since April, but now leads the field after Rubio’s collapse.

Yes, yes, it’s crazy early to be talking about 2016, and nobody knows what the field will look like when things get serious after November of next year or where the various candidates will stand. But this does provide an indication that Rubio’s immigration stand has not gone over well with potential GOP caucus and primary voters nationally, and that Ted Cruz—a pol most Democrats consider either a lunatic or a laughable demagogue—is the hot new item.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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