They’re both considered “anti-establishment” candidates, favored by folks who don’t like, and want to send a powerful message to, the “political class.” But the fiery and flamboyant Donald Trump is very different in style, and frequently in substance, from the generally calm and soft-spoken Ben Carson, whose prospects in the early-causus state of Iowa just got a huge boost.
Monmouth University has just released the results of a new poll showing that Carson has climbed into a head-to-head tie with Trump for the top spot in the opinion of Republicans in The Hawkeye State. A release from the polling organization points out that this is the first time in more than a month that “a poll in any of the first four nominating states has not shown Trump with a nominal lead.”
“When Iowa Republicans are asked who they would support in their local caucus, Ben Carson (23%) and Donald Trump (23%) tie for the top spot,” according to Monmouth pollsters.
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This marks a significant shake-up in the race for the Republican nomination for president. “In mid-July, [Scott] Walker was the front runner in Iowa, with Trump and Carson following behind. Since then, Walker’s support has dropped by 15 points, while Carson’s has increased by 15 points and Trump’s by 10 points. Support has also increased for [Carly] Fiorina by 7 points since Monmouth’s last Iowa poll.”
This stunning news for Ben Carson comes only days after another voter survey found him moving up substantially in the eyes of likely GOP caucus-goers in Iowa.
The Des Moines Register reported that its new poll, conducted in conjunction with Bloomberg Politics, showed that the retired neurosurgeon has made impressive gains among Iowa voters and is now within easy striking distance of the pack-leading billionaire businessman.
A new Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics Iowa Poll finds that Trump, the flamboyant real estate entrepreneur, has 23 percent support here. But Ben Carson…has been a submarine, quietly cruising into second with 18 percent, just 5 percentage points from the front-runner.
One of the more impressive aspects of the new polling that puts Carson at the 18-percent level with likely GOP caucus-goers in Iowa is his favorability rating. As the new voter survey notes: “Carson has the highest favorability rating of the 17 Republican candidates, with 79 percent who view him positively. Only 8 percent have negative feelings about him.”
This puts the political outsider Carson in sharp contrast to the bombastic boat-rocker Trump, who has nonetheless improved his favorability among Republicans, as pointed out by Bloomberg Politics: “The real estate mogul is rated favorably by 61 percent and unfavorably by 35 percent, an almost complete reversal since the Iowa Poll in May.”
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Bloomberg reporter John McCormick also takes note of Carson’s slow but steady efforts to put together the kind of ground game in Iowa that would be needed to grow the stature and sustainability of his campaign: “Although he isn’t generating the headlines enjoyed by Trump, Carson has quietly built a dedicated network of supporters in Iowa. During the past month, he also aired more ads than any other presidential candidate in Iowa.”
Another big plus for Ben Carson is his appeal to Christian conservatives looking for a non-politician, but not an unpredictable wild card like Donald Trump. The article by McCormick underscores Carson’s high favorability among Iowa Republicans as a kind of shield against potential attacks from his rivals for the GOP presidential nomination.
Christian conservatives, who represent nearly 40 percent of likely caucus participants in the poll, may be starting to coalesce around the former director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins.