Donald Trump is leading Ted Cruz by 2 percent in the race for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, a new Quinnipiac University poll
of GOP Caucus-goers in the Hawkeye State reveals.
But with the poll's 4-point margin of error, the billionaire developer and senator from Texas are actually in a dead heat.
In the ultra-tight race, Trump leads the GOP field, with 31 percent support, followed closely by Cruz's 29 percent.
Quinnipiac, which released the new poll on Monday, said despite Trump's lead, voters still view Cruz more favorably. But they are also more open to the possibility of voting for Trump.
"The Iowa Republican Caucuses are tight as a tick entering the final two weeks of the campaign. Voters like Sen. Ted Cruz better than Donald Trump and give him much higher scores for honesty, empathy, experience and for sharing their values," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac poll.
"But they see the New York businessman as better able to handle some key issues. Trump is way ahead on handling the economy and terrorism.
"The imbalance in perceived personal qualities may give Cruz a higher ceiling, a key metric entering the home stretch. Only 7 percent of Republicans say they could never vote for Cruz, while 26 percent say no way to Trump."
As far as issues, some 27 percent of Iowa likely Republican Caucus poll participants named the economy and job market as the most important in deciding their vote.
Another 18 percent listed terrorism, while 16 percent named foreign policy, and 10 percent opted the federal deficit. Surprisingly, with immigration such a hot button issue, only 8 percent listed it as most important.
Just a month ago, 30 percent listed terrorism as the most important issue, while 21 percent named the economy and jobs.
The new poll also found 46 percent of Republicans believing Trump can best handle the economy, with 16 percent opting for Cruz and 8 percent for Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida.
Trump is also best handling terrorism, according to 36 percent of GOP Caucus poll participants. Another 26 percent named Cruz and 12 percent chose Rubio
Trump also bested his rivals on illegal immigration, with 46 percent of GOP Caucus-goers saying he'd do the best job tackling the issue, with 22 percent choosing Cruz and 15 percent Rubio.
The Quinnipiac poll found the rest of the GOP pack far, far behind both Trump and Cruz.
Rubio is in third place, with 15 percent support, followed by Dr. Ben Carson, with 7 percent, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie with 4 percent, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee tied with three percent apiece.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky tied with 2 percent apiece; and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina and for Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum tied with 1 percent each.
The survey of 602 likely Republican Caucus-goers in Iowa was conducted from Jan. 5-10.
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