By Rachel Stoltzfoos
Ben Carson surged to the top of the Republican presidential primary field in a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released Tuesday, solidifying recent polling gains and coming within striking distance of Donald Trump’s polling average.
Carson is the first Republican to overtake Trump in a Journal/NBC poll since June, winning the support of 29 percent of GOP primary voters to Trump’s 23 percent. Support for Carson has tripled in the past three months.
Trump still leads the field in the Real Clear Politics polling average, but his lead over Carson has shrunk to less than two points. Support for Trump dropped two points since the last Journal/NBC poll, while support for Carson increased by 7 points. (RELATED: Trump’s Lead Over Carson Is Shrinking)
A recent Quinnipiac University poll also shows Carson jump ahead of Trump — in this case among GOP primary voters in Iowa — again surging to the front with nearly 30 percent of support.
Trump and Carson are way ahead of the rest of the primary pack. The latest poll was conducted before and after the debate, in which neither had a particularly remarkable performance. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio came up third in the poll, with a comparatively meager 11 percent of support. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz was right behind Rubio with 10 percent of support.
Carson’s support comes primarily from social conservative “value voters,” whose top concerns include abortion and who attend church services weekly. He gets less support from voters who make more than $75,000 a year, but is the top pick of every GOP voter segment in the poll.