Republican presidential hopefuls Ben Carson and Donald Trump participate in the Republican Presidential Debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif., Sept. 16, 2015. 
Photo by Frederic J. BrownAFP/Getty

Latest polls offer good news for GOP’s top tier

In early July, a Republican presidential hopeful by the name of Donald Trump took the lead in national 2016 poll – and he hasn’t relinquished that advantage yet. Indeed, by some measures, the New York developer actually appears to be gaining strength in national surveys.
Yesterday, a Washington Post/ABC News poll found Trump dominating the GOP’s presidential field with 32% support, while Ben Carson was a not-so-close second with 22%. Marco Rubio was third, but at 10% support, he barely cracked double digits. A Monmouth poll offered similar results, with Trump leading Carson by 10 points, 28% to 18%. Ted Cruz was in third with 10%.
But while this is a race for a national party’s nomination, it’s also a state-by-state nominating process, and Trump’s advantage in Iowa is far less dominant. In fact, a new Quinnipiac poll shows Carson pulling ahead in the first caucus state.
1. Ben Carson: 28% (up seven points from early September)
2. Donald Trump: 20% (down seven points)
3. Marco Rubio: 13% (up eight points)
4. Ted Cruz 10% (up one point)
5. Rand Paul: 6% (up two points)
6. Jeb Bush: 5% (down one point)
6. Carly Fiorina: 5% (unchanged)
The remaining candidates were at 3% or lower.
In his report on the data, Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, explained, “Today’s results show his appeal is especially strong among the state’s sizeable white, evangelical Christian community, among whom Carson is receiving 36 percent, twice Trump’s 17 percent.”
He added, “Those who know Carson seem to like him. He has an almost unheard of 84 - 10 percent favorability rating among likely Republican Caucus-goers, compared to Trump’s 53 - 43 percent rating. To borrow the line from Madison Avenue, ‘Almost no one doesn’t like Ben Carson.’”
Remember, all of this comes after Carson’s recent controversies in which the retired right-wing neurosurgeon came across as more than a little nutty.
What’s more, it’s not just Iowa. Wisconsin Public Radio published a poll yesterday on Republican voters’ preferences in the Badger State.
1. Ben Carson: 20%
2. Donald Trump: 18%
2. Marco Rubio: 18%
4. Ted Cruz: 10%
5. Carly Fiorina: 8%
The remaining candidates were at 3% or lower.