Carson Builds Dominant Lead in Iowa

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

Maggie speculated yesterday that Donald Trump might be in big trouble in Iowa after a CBS News/YouGov poll showed him with relatively low favorability among Iowans as compared to his chief current competitor, Ben Carson. This was despite Trump being tied with Carson overall in the poll.

Now, two new Iowa polls have been released showing Trump down substantially to Carson among likely caucus voters. Loras College shows Carson with 31 percent support, a 12 point advantage over Trump’s 19 percent.  And Monmouth University has Carson at 32 percent support, 14 points higher than Trump’s 18 percent.  Marco Rubio seems to the clear third place candidate, pulling in 10 percent in both polls.

These numbers represent Carson’s largest leads in Iowa to date.  However, even more notable is how much higher Carson’s favorability ratings are than the rest of the field in Iowa.  Among those surveyed in the Loras poll, Carson has a staggering +78.8 net favorability, more than 20 points higher than the next candidate and over 50 points higher than Trump’s.  Monmouth shows Carson with a similar +77 net favorability, while Trump only nets a +15.  Below are the average favorability ratings for each candidate taken from both polls (favorability for Lindsey Graham, George Pataki, and Rick Santorum were not asked in the Monmouth poll):

  • Ben Carson: +77.9
  • Marco Rubio: +52.2
  • Carly Fiorina: +41.4
  • Bobby Jindal: +35.1
  • Ted Cruz: +32.1
  • Mike Huckabee: +24.3
  • Donald Trump: +19.2
  • Jeb Bush: +4.3
  • John Kasich: -1.7
  • Chris Christie: -11.0
  • Rand Paul: -14.3

Combined with his current polling lead, Carson’s high favorability numbers appear to make him a formidable candidate in Iowa.  Whether he can hold onto this lead after three more months of high visibility will be perhaps one of the biggest stories to watch as primary season inches ever closer.

As for Donald Trump, can he recover his lost support?  Trump’s continued low favorability suggests he may have a great deal of work to do if he still hopes to win Iowa.

Paul Dupont is the managing editor for ThePulse2016.com.