Dr. Ben Carson has rocketed to the top of a new poll of Iowa Republicans, and the retired neurosurgeon-turned-politician is now tied with Donald Trump as front runner for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination.
The Monmouth University Poll
ranked Carson and Trump each with 23 percent of the vote, followed by former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina with 10 percent, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas with 9 percent, and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker with 7 percent.
Next are former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush with 5 percent, Ohio Gov. John Kasich with 4 percent, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida with 4 percent, and Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky with 3 percent.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum rounded out the poll with 2 percent apiece. None of the other six GOP candidates registered more than 1 percent.
The results mark the first time since July 26 that a poll in any of the first four nominating states has not shown Trump with a nominal lead.
"These results mark a significant shake-up in the leaderboard from Monmouth's Iowa poll taken before the first debate," Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, N.J., said in a statement.
"Carson and, to a lesser extent, Fiorina have surged, while Walker has faded into the background."
Last month, Walker was the front runner in Iowa, with Trump and Carson trailing. But Walker's support has now plummeted by a whopping 15 percent, while Carson's has increased by 15 points. Trump has added 10 points to his score.
Murray said that only 12 percent of likely Republican caucus goers say they are completely decided on which candidate they will support in February. Among them, Trump leads with 30 percent compared to 22 percent for Carson.
"Trump's support is currently more solid than Carson's, but Iowa voters are still considering quite a few candidates before they come to a final decision," Murray said.
Some 66 percent Iowa GOP caucus goers say regardless of who they support, the nation needs a president from outside of government who can bring a new approach to Washington.
As far as the fundamental strengths of leading candidates, the Monmouth University Poll found 81 percent of Iowa Republicans now holding an almost universally high opinion of Carson.
Fiorina has also seen her numbers improve to 67 percent.
The poll found that among tea party supporters, Trump leads with 27 percent, followed by Carson with 22 percent, and Cruz with 16 percent. Very conservative voters split their vote among Carson with 24 percent, Trump with 23 percent, and Cruz with 16 percent.
Most moderate to liberal caucus voters like Trump (26 percent), followed by Fiorina (18 percent) and Carson (17 percent). Among evangelical voters, Carson tops the poll with 29 percent, followed by Trump with 23 percent.
By gender, the poll found men prefer Trump (27 percent) to Carson (17 percent). Women prefer Carson (30 percent) over Trump (19 percent).
"After more than a month of Trump winning virtually every Republican demographic group, we've finally got a little variation in voting blocs to talk about," Murray said.
The poll was conducted by phone from Aug. 27 to 30, 2015 with Iowa voters likely to attend the Republican presidential caucuses in February. It has a margin of error of +4.9 percent.
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