Cruz, Trump each outpoll Hillary Clinton, most recent poll suggests

Ted Cruz of Texas, in a Jan. 12, 2016, interview with Lester Holt of NBC News, suggested polling of possible match-ups against Hillary Clinton may explain recent attacks coming his way on behalf of Donald Trump (YouTube video).

NEW: We scope out federal reporting requirements per Cruz's US Senate campaign loans of 2012.

In a Jan. 12, 2016, interview, Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz was asked by Lester Holt, the NBC News anchor, why he’s taking pokes from frontrunning businessman Donald Trump--such as questions about Cruz’s birth in Canada.

Cruz replied, in part, by suggesting flames are being fanned by foes mindful that Cruz fares better against Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton in national polls than Trump.

"Right now Donald Trump is losing to Hillary Clinton in national polls," Cruz said. "Right now I am beating Hillary Clinton in national polls." Cruz made a similar claim that night to Megyn Kelly of Fox News, saying: "Hillary in the national polling beats Donald badly, but I’m beating Hilllary in the national polling."

Fresh poll results pop frequently and we also don't know what poll or polls Cruz was talking about; his campaign didn’t reply to our inquiries. Still, if we had to cut to the chase, we'd say Cruz might be onto something though recent poll results are also tight enough to leave his claim too close to rate on the Truth-O-Meter. (Did another poll just come out? We kid.)

To get a quick fix on how voters perceive a Trump-Clinton showdown compared to Cruz-Clinton, we scrolled two websites that pile up poll results--pollingreport.com and realclearpolitics.com.

And? The latest head-to-head national poll shows Cruz and Trump each being the pick of voters over Clinton.

A Fox News poll taken Jan. 4-7, 2016 of 1,006 registered voters gave Trump 47 percent to Clinton’s 44 percent in that potential showdown--a Trump edge that also was within the poll’s margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Fifty percent of voters asked to consider a Cruz-vs-Clinton general election favored Cruz, 43 percent preferred Clinton.

It may be that Cruz was referring to a CNN/ORC poll taken Dec. 17-21, 2015 of 927 registered voters nationwide suggesting Clinton ahead of Trump by 49 percent to 47 percent, a lead within the poll’s margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. The poll otherwise showed Cruz ahead of Clinton, 48 percent to 46 percent (also, ahem, within the margin of error).

A slightly longer view lies in what Real Clear Politics calls its RCP Average, which as of Jan. 13, 2016 indicated that per several national polls taken from Dec. 16, 2015 through Jan. 7, 2016, Clinton was besting Trump by 2 percentage points. The RCP Average for a possible Cruz-Clinton match-up indicated Cruz running ahead of Clinton per the polls by nearly 2 percentage points.

You and the Texas senator and the New York businessman and the former secretary of state and all candidates already know the only poll that counts. What else?