The real reason why Ted Cruz is surging in the polls

Ted Cruz is shooting up in the polls.  In two recent national polls, he has surged into a virtual three-way tie for second place with Ben Carson and Marco Rubio, with 16% support.  It was just a month and a half ago that Cruz was in the low single digits.

And in Iowa one new poll shows him in second place, and another shows him actually beating Trump, 24% to 19%!

Two things have happened here.  First, Ben Carson supporters have been deserting him in droves, due to concerns about his knowledge of foreign policy and his soft-spoken manner.  But secondly, Ted Cruz has changed his speaking style dramatically.

It was just a month or two ago that I criticized the timid tone of Cruz's campaign.  When asked about transgender people serving in the military, Cruz merely said, "We shouldn't view the military as a cauldron for social experiments."

That's not very inspiring.  He talked like a political science professor.  Even his tone of voice was soft, gentle.  I remember the very soft, non-confrontational way he spoke to Jorge Ramos.  Cruz made his conservative points, but in an almost apologetic tone.

That Ted Cruz is gone now.  Just listen to him at the Freedomworks summit in Iowa.  When I heard him speak, I didn't recognize his voice.  He has literally changed his tone of voice, going down an octave.  He is now louder and more assertive.  He talks about carpet-bombing ISIS into oblivion.  He talks about abolishing the IRS, the Department of Energy, the Department of Education, the Department of Commerce, and HUD.  He makes challenging statements on Twitter like "Mr. President, if you want to insult me, insult me to my face. Let's have a debate on Syrian refugees right now!"

In short, Ted Cruz sounds like he's gotten an injection of Donald Trump.  He's gone from meek to martial.  That's what changed.  That's why he's getting support.

I think Cruz has an excellent chance of winning the Iowa caucuses.  He has the support of the largest number of key activists.  Remember, in a party caucus, it is not like voting in a primary.  Supporters must be willing to participate in meetings for hours and hours.  Trump supporters are enthusiastic, which would count the most for a primary, but for a caucus, it is past caucus goers who are the best prize, and right now they are turning toward Cruz.

However, even if Cruz wins Iowa, I still think he will have an uphill battle against Donald Trump.  Cruz is weak in the northeast (at 10% in Massachusetts and in single digits in Pennsylvania) and will have to make the South his stronghold in places like South Carolina, where he is still behind.

Exit question: If Cruz clearly moves up to second place, who goes negative first, Cruz or Trump...or neither?     

This article was written by Ed Straker, senior writer of NewsMachete.com, the conservative news site.

Ted Cruz is shooting up in the polls.  In two recent national polls, he has surged into a virtual three-way tie for second place with Ben Carson and Marco Rubio, with 16% support.  It was just a month and a half ago that Cruz was in the low single digits.

And in Iowa one new poll shows him in second place, and another shows him actually beating Trump, 24% to 19%!

Two things have happened here.  First, Ben Carson supporters have been deserting him in droves, due to concerns about his knowledge of foreign policy and his soft-spoken manner.  But secondly, Ted Cruz has changed his speaking style dramatically.

It was just a month or two ago that I criticized the timid tone of Cruz's campaign.  When asked about transgender people serving in the military, Cruz merely said, "We shouldn't view the military as a cauldron for social experiments."

That's not very inspiring.  He talked like a political science professor.  Even his tone of voice was soft, gentle.  I remember the very soft, non-confrontational way he spoke to Jorge Ramos.  Cruz made his conservative points, but in an almost apologetic tone.

That Ted Cruz is gone now.  Just listen to him at the Freedomworks summit in Iowa.  When I heard him speak, I didn't recognize his voice.  He has literally changed his tone of voice, going down an octave.  He is now louder and more assertive.  He talks about carpet-bombing ISIS into oblivion.  He talks about abolishing the IRS, the Department of Energy, the Department of Education, the Department of Commerce, and HUD.  He makes challenging statements on Twitter like "Mr. President, if you want to insult me, insult me to my face. Let's have a debate on Syrian refugees right now!"

In short, Ted Cruz sounds like he's gotten an injection of Donald Trump.  He's gone from meek to martial.  That's what changed.  That's why he's getting support.

I think Cruz has an excellent chance of winning the Iowa caucuses.  He has the support of the largest number of key activists.  Remember, in a party caucus, it is not like voting in a primary.  Supporters must be willing to participate in meetings for hours and hours.  Trump supporters are enthusiastic, which would count the most for a primary, but for a caucus, it is past caucus goers who are the best prize, and right now they are turning toward Cruz.

However, even if Cruz wins Iowa, I still think he will have an uphill battle against Donald Trump.  Cruz is weak in the northeast (at 10% in Massachusetts and in single digits in Pennsylvania) and will have to make the South his stronghold in places like South Carolina, where he is still behind.

Exit question: If Cruz clearly moves up to second place, who goes negative first, Cruz or Trump...or neither?     

This article was written by Ed Straker, senior writer of NewsMachete.com, the conservative news site.