The Corner

Meet Your New GOP Frontrunner! No, Not Just Iowa . . . Nationally!

From the Tuesday Morning Jolt:

Meet Your New GOP Frontrunner! No, Not Just Iowa . . . Nationally.

You know how Donald Trump likes to bring up the polls in his speeches and remarks? I think he may shake that habit pretty soon.

Ben Carson has taken a narrow lead nationally in the Republican presidential campaign, dislodging Donald J. Trump from the top spot for the first time in months, according to a New York Times/CBS News survey released on Tuesday.

Mr. Carson, a retired neurosurgeon, is the choice of 26 percent of Republican primary voters, the poll found, while Mr. Trump now wins support from 22 percent, although the difference lies within the margin of sampling error.

The survey is the first time that Mr. Trump has not led all candidates since The Times and CBS News began measuring presidential preferences at the end of July.

No other candidate comes close to Mr. Carson and Mr. Trump. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida received 8 percent while former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida and Carly Fiorina, the former Hewlett-Packard chief executive, are each the choice of 7 percent of Republican primary voters.

So Donald will come out metaphorical guns blazing in Wednesday night’s debate, right? It’s easy to imagine that backfiring. Ben Carson has the highest favorable numbers of any GOP candidate. He has an 84 percent favorable rating among Iowa Republicans. Trump already made an out-of-the-blue comment about Carson’s Seventh-Day Adventist faith that some construed as a veiled criticism of the surgeon’s faith. Even people who aren’t supporting Carson generally like him and respect him; how will they respond if Trump harangues and belittles Carson for two hours?

For what it’s worth, Nate Silver said yesterday:

Iowans are paying more attention to the race than people elsewhere in the country, so they may be early adopters of trends we’ll see elsewhere. In other words, once Trump starts getting Iowa-type scrutiny in other states, he might fade.

Trump and his fans can point to this detail in the New York Times/CBS poll:

The nationwide telephone poll was conducted Oct. 21-25 on cellphones and landlines with 575 Republican primary voters. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus six percentage points for each candidate. Additional findings from the full poll will be published Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.

Taking the lead with neurosurgical precision.

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