- The Washington Times - Friday, October 23, 2015

Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson has overtaken billionaire businessman Donald Trump in another poll on the 2016 GOP presidential field in the early state of Iowa, picking up 10 points of support since August.

Mr. Carson received the support of 28 percent of likely GOP caucus participants in the Bloomberg Politics/Des Moines Register numbers released Friday. Mr. Trump was at 19 percent — down 4 points since August.

A Quinnipiac poll released Thursday also showed Mr. Carson overtaking Mr. Trump in the state and leading by 8 points, 28 percent to 20 percent.

In the Bloomberg/DMR poll, Mr. Carson increased his standing among evangelical Christians, receiving support from a third of that group, compared to 21 percent in August. He also got a third of support from tea party backers, up from 21 percent in August.

Mr. Carson had an 84 percent favorability rating, tops in the field, and he was also the most frequently named second choice, at 19 percent.

Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas was in third at 10 percent, followed by Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida at 9 percent, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky at 5 percent apiece, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina at 4 percent and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee at 3 percent.

About seven in 10 said on the basis of religion alone, it would be unacceptable to have a Muslim president of the United States. Mr. Carson received some attention for saying last month that he would not advocate that a Muslim serve as president, but that he’d be willing to support anyone as long as they put the Constitution ahead of their religious beliefs.

Even with Mr. Trump’s No. 2 position in the poll, the real estate mogul received the highest share when people were asked the two or three candidates they’d like to see drop out, at 25 percent. More than a third of likely GOP caucus-goers also said they would never vote for Mr. Trump.

Mr. Trump did have more committed backers than Mr. Carson; about a third of Trump supporters said their minds are made up, compared to 15 percent of Carson supporters.

After the Quinnipiac poll released Thursday showed Mr. Trump trailing in the state for the first time in months in a major public survey, he had shared a tweet from another user that said: “#BenCarson is now leading in the #polls in #Iowa. Too much #Monsanto in the #corn creates issues in the brain? #Trump #GOP.”

That was an apparent reference to genetically-modified crops in the state — an issue near and dear to Iowans, particularly farmers.

The post was later deleted. Mr. Trump tweeted later Thursday: “The young intern who accidentally did a Retweet apologizes.”

The Bloomberg/DMR survey of 401 likely Republican caucus-goers was taken Oct. 16-19 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percentage points.

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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