Sen. Ted Cruz has taken the lead in a new national poll from NBC News/Wall Street Journal, sending Donald Trump to a new role as the second-place finisher.
The poll stands out from others because it was conducted in the wake of the most recent Republican debate, held Saturday.
Cruz came in with 28 percent of Republican voter support; Trump, meanwhile, won 26 percent. And next in line: Sen. Marco Rubio with 17 percent, Gov. John Kasich with 11 percent, former neurosurgeon Ben Carson with 10 percent and former governor Jeb Bush, at 4 percent.
A Quinnipiac University poll still puts Trump in first place nationally in the Republican primary.
Republican pollster Bill McInturff, who conducted the poll with Democratic pollster Peter Hart and his company Hart Research Associates, said Trump’s fall could be a harbinger of “a shift in the campaign,” NBC News reported.
“When you see a number this different, it means you might be right on top of a shift in the campaign,” he said. “What you don’t know yet is if the change is going to take place or if it is a momentary ‘pause’ before the numbers snap back into place.”
He also said the poll, “poll-Saturday debate,” could mean a “pause” as voters give Trump a longer look.
“This happened earlier this summer,” McInturff said, NBC News reported, “and [Trump] bounced back stronger. We will have to wait this time and see what voters decide.”
The poll also shows a 9-point fall in the percentage of Republican primary voters who picture themselves supporting Trump, from 65 percent a month ago to 56 percent. By comparison, 70 percent said they could see themselves voting for Rubio; 65 percent for Cruz; 62 percent for Carson; 49 percent for Kasich; and 46 percent for Bush.