Ben Carson, the neurosurgeon-turned-politician, is methodically making his way to the frontrunner status according to the latest New York Times/CBS poll released Tuesday. He amassed 23 percent of the vote among Republican voters, a 17-point climb since the first Republican presidential debate held on August 6 and comes on the day before the second one Wednesday evening.
Donald Trump maintains the lead at 27 percent, just a three-point climb over the same time period. It also means Trump’s lead is well within the six-point margin of error.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich (3 percent) and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina (4 percent) are the only other candidates to see their numbers rise. While Trump’s surge before the first debate appeared to derive from undecideds and those had supported known Tea Party candidates such as Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul. This time, though, Carson’s support seems to come from more established candidates, with former-Florida Gov. Jeb Bush falling seven points to 6 percent and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker dropping eight points down to 2 percent.
Among college-educated Republicans, Carson is leading Trump while Trump is besting the field with those who did not attend college.
A lot of the pull for both Carson and Trump stems from primary voters’ desire to choose an outsider. Recent polls have shown an overwhelming majority of GOP primary voters in Iowa and South Carolina want someone who is not from the political industry.
There is still a lot of room for voters to change their minds, though. Only 37 percent of Republican voters have said they are firm in their candidate choice with the remaining 63 percent saying it is too early to decide. In Trump’s camp, less than half of the voters have said they may switch their allegiance, leaving a lot of room for Carson or another candidate to take over as the frontrunner in the months leading to February’s Iowa caucus. Among gender lines, women were less likely to support Trump while men were more likely to support Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.
Fiorina, who’s numbers have made significant growth since the early summer polls, has a chance to wedge inbetween the two other outsider candidates during Wednesday’s debate, the first time she will take the stage with Carson and Trump, as well as the other top-tier candidates vying for the Republican nomination.