For nearly seven months, businessman Donald Trump held the mantle of Republican presidential frontrunner, confounding widespread expectations that his support would collapse well before GOP voters cast their first ballots.
But after his loss to Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas in Monday's Iowa caucuses — a loss Trump asserts was due to "fraud" on Cruz's part — the real estate tycoon has lost his command of the GOP race, according to the first national poll conducted entirely after the caucuses shows.
Trump remains the nominal leader in a survey from Public Policy Polling. But at 25% support, he's locked in a statistical tie with Cruz and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who each claim 21% support. Rubio exceeded expectations with a robust third-place showing in Iowa, finishing just one percentage point behind Trump.
Rounding out the Republican field are retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson at 11%; former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, who ended his bid Wednesday, at 5% each; New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and businesswoman Carly Fiorina at 3% and former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore at 1%.
For Trump, the result marks a dramatic comedown from December, when he lead Cruz, his nearest rival, by a 34% to 18% margin in the PPP survey. Trump is now at his lowest mark in the PPP poll since July, when he led the field with 19% support.
Trump has a chance to reset the narrative in Tuesday's New Hampshire primary, which most recent polls show he's favored to win. But with mainstream Republican support increasingly accruing to Rubio and Cruz showing strength with very conservative GOP voters, Trump now finds himself at his most vulnerable point since entering the race in June.