It’s Official: The Carson Surge Is Real

Dr. Ben Carson (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)
Dr. Ben Carson (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

When Maggie first noted a Quinnipiac poll showing Carson up 8 points in Iowa, my first thought was that it could be an outlier.  A new Bloomberg Politics/Des Moines Register poll, though, supports the theory that Carson is surging in the Hawkeye State.  Carson is the first choice of 28 percent of caucus participants, compared to 19 percent for Trump.

  • Ben Carson: 28%
  • Donald Trump: 19%
  • Ted Cruz: 10%
  • Marco Rubio: 9%
  • Jeb Bush: 5%
  • Rand Paul: 5%
  • Carly Fiorina: 4%
  • Mike Huckabee: 3%
  • Bobby Jindal: 2%
  • John Kasich: 2%
  • Rick Santorum: 2%
  • Chris Christie: 1%

In the race to be voters’ second choice, Carson is also dominating the competition at 19 percent.  Fiorina and Rubio rounded out the 2nd and 3rd place slots with 13 and 11 percent each.  Trump came in at 9 percent, tying with Cruz for 4th.

  • Ben Carson: 19%
  • Carly Fiorina: 13%
  • Marco Rubio: 11%
  • Donald Trump: 9%
  • Ted Cruz: 9%
  • Bobby Jindal: 8%
  • Jeb Bush: 5%
  • Rand Paul: 4%
  • Mike Huckabee: 3%
  • John Kasich: 2%
  • Chris Christie: 2%
  • Rick Santorum: 1%

The poll also tested voter attitudes on several “attack lines” that Democrats might use against the top Republican candidates in their bids.  On all but one, at least 50 percent of caucus participants’ reaction was a collective yawn:

Testing potential lines of attack against other top Republicans:

  • About half of likely GOP caucus-goers said they weren’t bothered that Trump insults rivals.
  • Bush’s advocacy for a “path to legal residence for immigrants who are in this country illegally” makes 63 percent less supportive of him.
  • When told Cruz has “led the charge for government shutdowns,” 67 percent said they weren’t bothered.
  • After hearing that Carly Fiorina was “fired as CEO at Hewlett-Packard with a $21 million severance package after the company lost stock value,” 65 percent said they weren’t concerned.
  • Rubio’s youthfulness is mostly a non-issue, with 93 percent saying they’re not bothered that the 44-year-old would be the third-youngest president.

Nick Arnold is a researcher for the American Principles Project.