Trump Campaign: Cruz Winning In New Poll Because Murdoch-Owned Paper Commissioned It

UPDATE: Trump Himself Calls Poll A “Rupert Murdoch Hit”

Donald Trump's presidential campaign is suggesting that the reason a new poll commissioned by NBC News and The Wall Street Journal shows Trump trailing Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is that Rupert Murdoch owns the Journal.

The poll results, released February 18, show Cruz leading Trump nationally, 28 percent to 26 percent. As NBC News reported, those results “are a significant reversal from last month, when Trump held a 13-point lead over Cruz,” and “This poll comes after other surveys -- both nationally and in South Carolina, the site of Saturday's next Republican contest -- show Trump with a commanding lead. But some of those weren't conducted entirely after the last debate like the NBC/WSJ poll.”

Many political observers have suggested that the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll could be an outlier. But Dan Scavino, the Trump campaign's director of social media and senior adviser, provided a more conspiratorial theory:

Trump and Murdoch's Fox News have a complicated relationship. The Republican presidential front-runner has repeatedly complained of “bias” from the conservative network, even as he has received more than double the airtime of any other GOP candidate.

UPDATE: According to CNN, Trump personally attacked Murdoch over the poll during a radio interview, saying “That phony Wall Street Journal poll that came out yesterday was, in my opinion, it was a fix....It was a Rupert Murdoch hit. It was just a Rupert Murdoch hit.”

UPDATE 2: Murdoch responded to the Trump campaign claim, writing on Twitter, “Trump blames me for WSJ poll, fights FoxNews. Time to calm down. If I running anti-Trump conspiracy then doing lousy job!”