Washington: Real estate mogul Donald Trump continues to lead the Republican field in Iowa, the first nominating state, though his dust-up with a TV host in last week's opening debate cost him some ground, according to a new poll.
Former Florida governor and Republican establishment favourite Jeb Bush was also hit hard, according to a new Suffolk University poll. He sank to seventh place from third in the RealClearPolitics average of Iowa polls over the past month.
Bush now narrowly trails former CEO Carly Fiorina in the key early state. Florida Senator Marco Rubio scores the biggest boost, rising from eight to third.
While one in five remain undecided in the new Iowa poll, among those with a preference, Trump leads the field at 17 percent. He is followed by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker at 12 percent and Rubio at 10 percent.
Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson comes fourth at 9 percent and former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina and Texas Senator Ted Cruz tied for fifth at 7 percent each.
In New Hampshire, the second nominating state, too Trump is in the lead at 18 percent, according to a Boston Herald/Franklin Pierce University poll.
Meanwhile, Trump who is running with a pledge to make America great again told CNN Tuesday that he is "the most fabulous whiner."
"I do whine because I want to win and I'm not happy about not winning and I am a whiner and I keep whining and whining until I win," he said.
Trump also refuted a report that he was considering ruling out a third-party run.
"I'm running as a Republican, I'm leading in every poll...I'm leading all over the place and I want to run as a Republican," Trump said.
"If I am treated fairly that's the way it's going to be but I want to keep that door open. I have to keep that door open because if something happens where I'm not treated fairly I may very well use that door."
Trump added that an independent run is "not something I want to do."
In a separate interview to Fox News Tuesday, his first since he criticised host Megyn Kelly hard, saying there was "blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever."
Trump again slammed those who interpreted his comments as referring to menstruation on CNN, saying only "a deviant" and those with "sick minds" or "semi-sick minds" would think that.
Trump insisted that he would be the best president for women, touting the number of women executives in his company's top positions - women he said he pays as much as men in similar posts.
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)