Looks like Donald Trump finally has some competition within the Republican field. Ben Carson, retired neurosurgeon and fellow anti-establishment GOP candidate, tied at 23% in a recent Iowa caucus poll conducted by Monmouth University. It was the first poll from an early nominating state in over a month not to show Donald Trump as the clear leader.
The press hasn’t had much to say about the soft-spoken Carson since his official announcement in May. That’s about to change. According to the Iowa poll, “Carson has the highest favorability rating of the 17 Republican candidates, with 79% who view him positively. Only 8% have negative feelings about him.”
Trump faces 35% disapproval from that same voter pool.
“Although he isn’t generating the headlines enjoyed by Trump, Carson has quietly built a dedicated network of supporters in Iowa. During the past month, he also aired more ads than any other presidential candidate in Iowa,” said Bloomberg’s John McCormick.
Iowa’s previous Monmouth poll, conducted about a month and a half ago, showed Scott Walker as the clear leader. Since then, support for Walker has plummeted while support for Trump, Carson, and Carly Fiorina has risen.
Carson and Trump are both political outsiders, but their styles are drastically different. “I call it the power of nice,” said Iowa state Rep. Rob Taylor. “When you compare the two, it’s kind of a yin and yang. Carson’s approach is kind, gentle, smart, and effective – and what he’s practicing right now, we haven’t seen in a long time in politics.”
Ben Carson is appealing to Christian voters seeking a “non-politician” candidate less flamboyant that Trump. Like “The Donald,” however, Carson isn’t afraid to say what he thinks and has been known to say some pretty controversial things about Obamacare, gay marriage, and the IRS.
The mild-mannered Carson isn’t experiencing a popularity surge, he’s just been overlooked. In fact, Carson has been cruising just beneath 10% all summer.
Rep. Taylor believes that the Hawkeye State is attracted to Carson for his authenticity. “People are frustrated by politicians promising things to their constituents, and once they get elected, they don’t follow through,” said Taylor. “I think the appeal with Dr. Carson is he says what he does and does what he says.”