Donald Trump rips 'phony' poll that found Ted Cruz suddenly beating him nationally

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Real-estate mogul Donald Trump took a shot at the media on Thursday for promoting the supposedly "phony" poll showing him behind Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) nationally.

In a surprising development the day before, a Wall Street Journal/NBC News survey found Cruz leading among GOP primary voters with a 28% plurality. Trump was just behind with 26%.

That was the first time a national poll had found Cruz beating Trump. But as Trump noted on Twitter, other polls have found him comfortably ahead.

"Amazing that while I lead by big numbers in the new Q and and USA Today polls, the the press only wants to report on the phony WSJ/NBC poll," the presidential candidate tweeted Thursday morning.

The recent national surveys have indeed been all over the map. A Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday found Trump with his highest total yet — 39% — in that survey, and easily ahead of Sen. Marco Rubio's (R-Florida) 19% and Cruz's 18%.

And a CBS News poll released Thursday showed Trump with a similar national lead. That survey found that Trump had 35% support nationally, compared to Cruz's 18% and Rubio's 12%. After seeing the CBS results, Trump further called NBC/WSJ poll a "total joke":

New CBS National Poll just out - massive lead for Trump. The Wall Street Journal/NBC Poll is a total joke. No wonder WSJ is doing so badly!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 18, 2016

At an MSNBC town-hall event on Wednesday, Trump suggested that the NBC/WSJ poll had been rigged against him.

"I have never done well in the Wall Street Journal poll. I think somebody at Wall Street Journal doesn't like me," the mogul said, according to a transcript. "They do these small samples and I don't know exactly what it represents," he added.

Trump has previously questioned the credibility of polls showing him behind only to completely reverse himself once the same pollster later found him ahead.

He remains the front-runner in Saturday's Republican primary in South Carolina, where the surveys have all found him easily beating his rivals. Trump noted his lead there in another Thursday tweet:

I love being in South Carolina. We are leading big in all of the State polls - Saturday is a BIG day. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 18, 2016