U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (28%) and Donald Trump (26%) are statistically tied in a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll that ends Trump’s long streak of undisputed first-place poll positions. Marco Rubio (17%), John Kasich (11%), Ben Carson (10%) and Jeb Bush (4%) round out the respondents’ top choices.
In the last month, Cruz has gained 8 points while Trump has fallen 7 points. Trump led Cruz, 33%-20%, in January. Kasich also rose 8 points. Carson has fallen 19 points since leading the field at 29% in October.
The poll does not use traditional favorability ratings. It instead uses a measure of whether respondents could see themselves supporting a particular candidate. On that basis, Rubio has the highest such rating at 70/28, followed by Cruz at 65/33, Carson at 62/35, Trump at 56/42 and Kasich at 49/41. In two months, Kasich’s numbers showed the most improvement, rising from 22/53.
Bush is the only remaining polled candidate who is underwater at 46/53.
The sample of 400 likely Republican primary voters has a margin of error of ±4.9%. The question remains as to whether this poll is an outlier, especially compared with individual state polls where Trump remains consistently in first place, or a sign of very recent movement.