A new national poll of Republican primary voters indicates that Ben Carson has taken a small lead in the race for the party’s presidential nomination, knocking Donald Trump from a position he has held for months.
Twenty-six percent of likely voters say Carson is their top pick for the nomination, four points ahead of Trump at 22 percent. The poll, conducted by CBS and The New York Times, has shown Trump on top ever since it began surveying voters last July. Out of more than 30 polls tracked on the website RealClearPolitics, this is only the second since early July that doesn’t have Trump in the top spot. The news comes on the heels of a poll giving Carson a big 14-point lead in Iowa, whose caucuses kick off the primary season. (RELATED: New Iowa Poll Shows Carson With Double-Digit Lead)
No other Republicans are in double digits in the new poll. Marco Rubio is third with 8 percent support, followed by Jeb Bush and Carly Fiorina with 7 percent apiece. Every other candidate is clustered at 4 percent or less.
Carson’s rise is based on picking up more support from just about all groups, but his core base still shows substantial differences with Trump’s. Carson has amassed tremendous support among evangelical voters, who support him over Trump by more than 20 percentage points. Carson is also more popular with women than men, and attracts more conservatives, while Trump appeals more to moderates and those without a college degree.
Carson’s lead could be quite unstable, though. Only 19 percent of his supports say they are firmly committed to backing him, while more than half of Trump’s supporters say the same, meaning the business mogul likely has a firmer base on which to rely.
The poll was conducted from Oct. 21-25 and had a sample size of 575 Republican primary voters. The margin of error was plus or minus 6 percentage points.