A deep dive into latest Fox News poll numbers

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," January 22, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: It sounded like you wanted the bill to pass.

SEN. TED CRUZ, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Bret, of course I wanted the bill to pass, my amendment to pass.

BAIER: You said the bill.

CRUZ: What my amendment did was take citizenship off the table. But it doesn't mean that I supported the other aspects of the Bill.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: "Eminent domain," fancy term for politicians seizing private property to enrich the fat cats who bankroll them, like Trump.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Trump won't change the system. He's what's wrong with it.


BAIER: OK, two ads out today, one Trump attacking Ted Cruz, one Cruz attacking Donald Trump. This as we have new national polls from FOX News just out at the top of the hour. And you have Donald Trump with a comfortable lead over the rest of the field, Ted Cruz in second, and Rubio far in third. And eventually you're going to actually see this poll. It's FOX poll number one. There you see the rest of the field, Carson, Bush and Kasich.

And then Republicans refusing to support against the Democrat these candidates, and there you see Trump leading 15 percent, Bush at 10 percent, Christie at eight.

Let's bring in our panel, Steve Hayes, senior writer for The Weekly Standard, Kirsten Powers, USA Today columnist, and syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer. OK, Steve?

STEVE HAYES, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Well, obviously the major Trump collapse is happening. He was at 39 last month and he's 34 today.


HAYES: I'm just kidding. There's no Trump collapse. He has an incredible lead over Ted Cruz right now. The fact that he can sustain this lead and has sustained it now for six months I think is a credit to his candidacy. We'll see how long it lasts now that he and Ted Cruz are fully engaged. One of the most remarkable things about this election so far, and we talked about this the other night, is that Donald Trump really hasn't been hit on the air waves at all. There's been virtually no Republican paid media campaign against Donald Trump either attacking him on his positions, views, his ideology, or attacking him on character. It appears that that's beginning now. It will be interesting to see if that has an effect.

BAIER: Today Rush Limbaugh was talking about this battle between one and two, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, and here's what he had to say.


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It is fair to say that Hillary Clinton is the candidate of the Democratic establishment. Every other day she's --


BAIER: Obviously that was not Rush Limbaugh. That was Bernie Sanders. Tell me when we have Rush Limbaugh. We do have Rush Limbaugh. He doesn't look like Bernie Sanders, and here he is.


RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Look, folks, you and I know the Republican establishment no more wants Donald Trump than they want Cruz. They don't want either of them. But they hate Cruz. They despise Cruz because they're afraid of Ted Cruz. Trump, on the other hand, they don't even think is a Republican. When you get right down to brass tacks, people in the Republican Party don't even think he's a Republican.


BAIER: And this comes as National Review of course has this whole issue about anti-Trump, Kirsten.

KIRSTEN POWERS, USA TODAY: Yes. Well, I think he's right when you talk to a lot of establishment Republicans, you will hear this idea if we have to choose sides, we better go with Trump because maybe he's somebody we can work with versus Ted Cruz has made it pretty clear he wants nothing to do with the Republican establishment. In fact he's made it his job to sort of make things difficult for them.

But I think the most interesting thing in the FOX News poll is that you have only 15 percent of Republicans saying that they wouldn't vote for Donald Trump. What does that tell you? That tells you if he can continue to prevail against Ted Cruz, which he's, I think, taken a lot of hits from Donald Trump in the last week or so, that people are willing to switch over and vote for Donald Trump. And that's huge because it's been cast as Donald Trump being this outsider in the race that Republicans aren't going to get behind. And I don't think the poll is saying that.

BAIER: National Review saying that Trump is not a conservative. Trump tweeting back from last night "The late great William F. Buckley would be ashamed of what had happened to his prize, the dying National Review." Charles?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: It seems like anybody who attacks the Trump is dying one way or the other, either a loser and gone, or dying. It's getting a little bit old.

Look, what's so interesting about this I think is the timing. I think there's a reason why this is now coming out, National Review pushing back. I think they have a sense that we may be approaching a moment, an inflection point, where essentially the so-called establishment, I hate the term, the mainstream Republicans decide to throw in the towel on the Trump candidacy, have a sense that he's inevitable, some of them because they really can't stand Cruz.

But I think it's larger than that. And you may get the beginning, beginning with a trickle, maybe a larger river or a stream, of establishment mainstream governors or senators -- I talked about this last night. You get or two start to endorse Trump essentially as a signal that's OK. He's become normalized. The number of people who are against him, Republican, six or eight months ago, is about 60 percent, 59 percent, as I recall. If you're down to 15 percent, there's an acceptance. And that's why I think the "National Review" people thought we got to push back now, make this a federal case, and hope that this will be delayed or postponed until a candidate out of the mainstream emerges.

BAIER: It's also interesting they didn't endorse. They did this whole piece about anti-Trump but they didn't endorse one other candidate.

HAYES: They didn't endorse. And maybe they will, but they were very clear with these 22 authors, by the way, very few of whom could possibly be considered Republican or conservative establishment. We are talking about Erick Erickson and Brent Bozell, Thomas Sowell, Glenn Beck. These are not Republican establishment types. So if that's Trump's pushback he's wrong.

Look, you read Trump's tweet about William F. Buckley and Trump alluded to William F. Buckley last week when he was talking about other conservatives from Manhattan. But if Trump admired William F. Buckley, William F. Buckley did not admire Donald Trump and in 2000 wrote "The resistance to a corrupting demagogy should take first priority." So rather than not following what William F. Buckley's legacy is, Trump would suggest the National Review writers in the symposium are actually doing exactly what Buckley would have prescribed.

BAIER: All right, so it is Friday, and that means we take a trip to Candidate Casino on the Republican side. And we will see where everyone's $100 chips will lie. The Candidate Casino, sometimes it takes awe little bit longer to get to the casino. But we are making our way there. And the house is in, $100 in chips. OK, Steve?

HAYES: So I really thought about upping my beer budget this week. But I kept it at $5 for a Door County Brewing Company pastoral beer, $30 each on Trump, Cruz, and Rubio. I think this is basically a three-man race -- Chris Christie I have a hedge bet in on -- basically a three-man race. With this kind of volatility I think anything could happen.

BAIER: OK, Kirsten?

POWERS: I have $40 on Trump, $25 on Cruz, $25 on Rubio and $10 for wild card establishment if some sort of freak of nature happens and one of them can break through. I have sort of seen this more as a two-person race, but I think the more that I think about it I'm more inclined to say what Steve is saying. There's a chance here that Rubio could kind of break through with Cruz. I think Cruz is really getting battered by Trump. And so there could be an opening there for him.

BAIER: A lot of people on Twitter, Lake Crazy, $50 Cruz, $35 on Trump, similar breakdown. More on Cruz on Twitter. Dunbar $50 on Cruz, $40 on Trump, $10 on Rubio. OK, Charles?

KRAUTHAMMER: I think that's the current consensus, although what good the consensus have been for the last six months I don't know. But it is that it is Trump, Cruz, and Rubio in that order. I have it at $40, $30, $20, but I've upped the wine, women and song because I really need solace right now.

BAIER: I do want to mention the only candidate here today for the March for Life was Carly Fiorina. And this obviously took place in the middle of a blizzard that was on its way. And she made some remarks that were obviously very well received here in Washington. It's an annual event, and one that is motivating social conservatives to this day.

HAYES: It was fascinating. I drove -- I tried to get across the mall from one side of the mall to the other, driving through the March of Life, and, you know, they have the streets all closed off. Extraordinary number of people who were there marching, particularly given the threatening weather. This happens year after year. There are very few media outlets that cover it, and I think it's kudos to FOX for covering it, kudos to Carly Fiorina for going, and kudos to the marchers for having the dedication to show up.

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