Hot off a poll showing him at the top of the Republican presidential field for the first time since early November, Ted Cruz branded himself the ‘new national front runner’ at a town hall this evening in South Carolina.
The NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows Cruz, a Texas senator, with 28 per cent of Republican support nationally, compared with 26 per cent for Trump, the outspoken maverick billionaire.
‘And then the next closest candidate is way down at 17 percent,’ Cruz said, referring to rival senator Marco Rubio, of Florida.
The survey was released to the public at 5pm just after Cruz took the stage.
‘For the first time in many months, there’s a new national front runner on the Republican side,’ Cruz said to cheering and hollering from his audience.
After the Texas senator finished reading off the survey’s findings he told them, ‘So the sound you’re hearing is the sound of screams coming from Washington, D.C.’
At that point the sound his audience was hearing was silence, as they awkwardly reacted to his dismissal of Rubio, who he’s aggressively trying to take down as a supporter of amnesty for illegals.
The NBC poll’s results are unlike any other survey published in months, and stands in stark contrast with other measurements – all of which show The Donald leading the pack by wide margins.
But taken at face value, it ends a streak of 31 straight national GOP polls where Trump has occupied the top slot.
Trump press secretary Hope Hicks told DailyMail.com that the new poll is an ‘outlier,’ suggesting it’s a blip in the radar that shouldn’t be taken seriously.
She noted that the pollsters contacted an unworkably ‘small sample of conservatives,’ including only 400 Republicans in all, which might skew the results.
But Cruz was ready to crow on a day when the two rivals have been at each other’s throats and their aides are preparing the South Carolina’s first-in-the-south primary election on Saturday.
Read more: Daily Mail