Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson has overtaken billionaire businessman Donald Trump in Iowa, according to a poll released Thursday on the 2016 GOP presidential field.
Mr. Carson led Mr. Trump by 8 points, 28 percent to 20 percent, in the Quinnipiac poll released Thursday. In September, Mr. Trump held a 6-point, 27 percent to 21 percent, lead over Mr. Carson in the state.
“It’s Ben Carson’s turn in the spotlight,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.
Mr. Trump had not trailed in an Iowa poll included in RealClearPolitics averages since an NBC News/Marist poll released in July that showed him narrowly trailing Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who has since dropped out of the race. Mr. Trump and Mr. Carson were tied at 23 percent apiece in a Monmouth poll taken in late August.
Mr. Carson held a 20-point advantage over Mr. Trump among women, 33 percent to 13 percent, and a 1-point advantage among men, 25 percent to 24 percent. He also had a 19-point, 36 percent to 17 percent advantage over Mr. Trump among white evangelical Christians.
“Those who know Carson seem to like him,” Mr. 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.’ “
Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida was in third in the poll at 13 percent, followed by Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas at 10 percent and Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky at 6 percent. Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush were next at 5 percent each. No one else was above 3 percent.
Mr. Trump topped the “no way” list, with 30 percent of likely caucus participants saying they would definitely not support him for the GOP nomination. Mr. Bush was second on that list at 21 percent.
Eighty-four percent of Republicans said Mr. Carson shares their values, 89 percent said he is honest and trustworthy, and 87 percent said he cares about their needs and problems — all tops in the field.
Mr. Trump was the most highly rated on strong leadership qualities, at 80 percent, beating out Mr. Carson’s 76 percent. Voters also judged Mr. Trump as best able to handle the economy, taxes and illegal immigration.
Voters chose Mr. Carson, meanwhile, as best able to handle social issues like gay marriage and abortion.
Mr. Bush was judged to have the right kind of experience to be president by 76 percent of respondents, leading the field on that question.
Mr. Rubio had a 1-point lead, 18 percent to 17 percent, over Mr. Trump on who would handle foreign policy the best.