Christopher Halloran / Shutterstock.com

Christopher Halloran/Shutterstock.com

A new national NBC News/SurveyMonkey online poll finds that [mc_name name=’Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’C001098′ ] has moved up 8% as Ben Carson dropped 8% leaving them tied for second place at 18%. Donald Trump, who was tied for the lead with Carson at 26% in the last NBC News/SurveyMonkey poll, is now in the lead at 28%. [mc_name name=’Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’R000595′ ] also moved up 2%, to 11%, and remains in fourth place. The rest of the Republican candidates remain at 4% or less. The two point moves by Trump and Rubio fall within the poll’s 2.9% margin of error.

Other interesting findings from new the NBC News/SurveyMonkey poll include:

  • Carson is losing his support among evangelicals. He is now backed by just 25% of this group while Trump and Cruz have 23% and 22% respectively.
  • Cruz now has the highest level of support among those who identify as very Conservative, with 40%, overtaking both Carson and Trump.
  • Carson, Cruz, Rubio and Trump receive nearly equal levels of support among those with college degrees.

The upward movement of Cruz could be attributed to his organizational efforts with politically active church goers. And some credit should surely go to his response to the Paris terror attack we reported on here and here.

Carson’s fall, or as Trump calls it “free fall,” is the result of questions about Carson’s grasp of foreign policy. Most, 71%, of the Republican insiders surveyed this week by The POLITICO Caucus said Carson was the most vulnerable Republican presidential candidate on foreign policy — far more than any other candidate.

Don’t take this new poll too seriously. There are still more than two months before the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary. That’s a very long time at this stage of a presidential campaign.