A poll released by Quinnipiac University has Ben Carson leading Donald Trump among likely Republican voters in Iowa.
With strong help from female voters, the Thursday poll has the retired doctor leading the Republican field with 28 percent, while Trump’s numbers slipped down to 20 percent. The same poll conducted on Sept. 11 showed Trump leading with 27 percent and Carson in second with 21.
“It’s Ben Carson’s turn in the spotlight,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.
A lot of the help for Carson came from female Republican voters, as he was able to top Trump 33 to 13 among that demographic. Men were less divided and showed almost equal support for the two candidates with 25 percent for Carson and 24 for Trump.
Some of the other candidates in the large Republican field were also able to secure a bit of a bump in poll numbers. Sen. Marco Rubio came in third place with 13 percent, an increase over the last poll where he scored just 5 percent. Sen. Ted Cruz followed with 10 percent, Sen. Rand Paul had 6 percent, and Carly Fiorina and Jeb Bush both had 5 percent.
Carson’s support came largely from people who just seem to like him, Brown said in a release accompanying the poll.
“Those who know Carson seem to like him,” Brown said. “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.’”
While people seem to like Carson, they think Trump has a far stronger ability to handle different issues faced by a U.S. president. Trump tops Carson handily on the economy, 41 to 12, on taxes, 32 to 13, and on illegal immigration, which has been a focal point of Trump’s campaign, 37 to 9.
Carson leads Trump in one area, though, social issues, where he carrys a 31 to 11 lead.
“As they’ve been pondering for six months, many in the political world still are trying to understand Carson’s appeal and how someone who seems to be operating outside the traditional news media/political environment is doing so well among the most conservative GOP voters,” Brown said.
Carson’s appeal is especially strong among evangelical, white Christians, who support Carson at a rate of 46 percent compared to Trump’s 17 percent.
While Trump and Carson continue to jockey for the top spot in the polls, 30 percent of voters say they would never vote for Trump. Also of note, 21 percent said they would never vote for Bush.
Trump’s support rises within the general public, though. A Washington Post-ABC poll from last week showed Trump with 32 percent support among the general population. Carson came in second with 21 percent. None of the other candidates reached double digit polling numbers.
When asked who they thought would get the Republican nomination, 42 percent said Trump, while just 15 said Carson.
The Real Clear Politics Poll, which averages together all the Republican presidential polls, shows Trump leading Carson 27 to 21.