Cruz surges in Iowa; Clinton widens lead against Sanders

WASHINGTON (MEDIA GENERAL) – This Thanksgiving weekend there is plenty to be grateful for especially if you work for Donald Trump’s or Hillary Clinton’s campaign. The two front runners remain atop national polls over the holiday weekend as the countdown edges closer to the first states to vote: Iowa and New Hampshire.

Iowa eyes Cruz

Ted Cruz

A Quinnipiac poll, released on Tuesday, shows GOP Presidential hopeful Donald Trump facing new competition from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).

Trump: 25%
Cruz: 23%
Carson: 18%
Rubio: 13%

The poll, taken after a deadly ISIS terrorist attacks in Paris, has helped strengthen the lead between Trump and retired neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson. After the attacks, the Carson campaign faced tough questions about the candidate’s foreign policy experience.

Clinton leads Sanders
Hillary Rodham Clinton

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will celebrate Thanksgiving with a sizable lead against the two other Democratic Presidential candidates.  Mrs. Clinton surpasses both Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley. The latest numbers show :

Clinton: 54%
Sanders: 32%
O’Malley: 3%

Not much time left

Following the Thanksgiving break you can expect to see the candidates ramp up their advertising ahead of the final GOP debate of 2015 on December 15th in Las Vegas. A FOX News debate is expected in January but a date has not been released by the Republican National Committee.

Major Milestones Ahead in 2016:

February 1: Iowa Caucus
February 9: New Hampshire Primary
February 20: Nevada Caucus (Democrats)
February 20: South Carolina Primary (Republicans)
February 23: Nevada Caucus (Republicans)
February 27: South Carolina Primary (Democrats)

For the latest on the race for the White House, follow national correspondent:@markpmeredith on Twitter.

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