February 1, 2016 11:49 am
Updated: February 1, 2016 5:00 pm

Trump leads GOP candidates as Iowa caucus begins despite highest ‘unfavourable’ rating in 25 years

WATCH ABOVE: Presidential hopefuls busy before Iowa caucuses 


A recent poll has Donald Trump back on top of the other U.S. presidential hopefuls as voting at the Iowa caucuses begins Monday.

The former reality TV star has 28 per cent support, a five-point lead over his closest opponent: Ted Cruz, according to a poll from the Bloomberg Politics Iowa and the Des Moines Register.

But the pollster says Cruz is both more popular and respected.

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“The drill-down shows, if anything, stronger alignment with Cruz than Trump, except for the horse race,” said J. Ann Selzer told the Des Moines Register.

That’s because Trump isn’t second choice for a lot of voters, while Cruz is second choice for 17 per cent of them, according to the poll.

READ MORE: 4 things to watch during the Iowa caucuses

But the race for the nomination could still go either way: the poll found 45 per cent of respondents say they either don’t have a first choice or could be persuaded to switch candidates.

Turnout is going to be a major factor in Monday’s caucuses. Historically, only a small fraction of voters bother to come out, which is why candidates have been pleading with voters in Iowa all weekend to make it out to the event.

WATCH ABOVE: Iowa will kick off US presidential race with close races in either party.

Trump called most unfavourable candidate in 25 years

Trump is also dealing with his “negative image,” according to a recent poll from Gallup.

The poll states 60 per cent of Americans view Trump unfavourably.

WATCH: Sarah Palin blasts Republican establishment while campaigning for Trump

Frank Newport, the editor-in-chief of Gallup, looked at the historical data and found he has the worst rating for the past 25 years. The only one to come close is George H. W. Bush, who was rated as 47 per cent unfavourable when he ran for re-election in 1992.

READ MORE: Donald Trump’s Hollywood Walk of Fame star defaced with swastika

Newport noted that George W. Bush’s unfavourable rating was above 60 per cent at one point, but that wasn’t during an election year, and he wasn’t considered a candidate.

With files from the Associated Press.

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