Ben Carson


CEDAR RAPIDS | With the support of evangelical Christians, Ben Carson has surged past Donald Trump to the top of the Republican 2016 presidential field in a poll by Loras College.

Carson was the first choice of 30.6 percent of 500 likely GOP caucus-goers in the poll conducted Oct. 19-22. Trump was second at 18.6 percent with Florida Sen. Marco Rubio third at 10 percent and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush fourth at 6.8 percent. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz polled 6.2 percent and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal came in at 4.6 percent. No other candidate topped 3 percent.

Nearly 57 percent of the 500 likely GOP caucus-goers polled by Loras identified themselves as evangelical Christians and Carson captured 35.6 percent them. That was double Trump’s share -- 17.6 percent -- of the evangelical Christians, according to the Loras poll.

Carson’s stock started to rise over the summer “and this positive trajectory has continued to this point,” said Loras College Poll Director Christopher Budzisz. In an August Loras poll, Carson was at 18.1 percent and Trump was at 24.5 percent.

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“Over the past week or so, Carson’s campaign has been officially suspended as he pursues his book tour, but given his tour took him to several places in Iowa, he remained front and center for Iowa Republicans,” he said.

Carson’s rise to first place in the Loras Poll mirrors the findings of polls last week by Quinnipiac University and CBS news. Also Monday, Monmouth University in New Jersey release a poll showing Carson leading Trump 32 percent to 18 percent with Cruz and Rubio tied at 10, and Bush at 8 percent.

Carson has “captured the attention of a Republican electorate in Iowa that is very dissatisfied with the direction of the country, President Obama and what they see as the political status quo,” Budzisz said.

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