Ben Carson has pulled ahead of Donald Trump in Iowa, according to a Bloomberg Politics poll conducted this week. But what the hell, Iowa?
Evangelical Christians, who represent 42 percent of likely Republican caucus participants in the poll, appear to be aligning behind Carson. He received support from a third of that group, up from 21 percent in August, when he only narrowly led Trump with that key segment.
Cruz is unlikely to make large gains without support softening for Carson or Trump, who hold a combined 51 percent of evangelical likely GOP caucus participants.
Carson's rise has also been fueled by gains with Tea Party supporters. Among those who consider themselves part of the limited-government movement, he gets a third of the support, up from 21 percent in August.
More than two-thirds of likely GOP caucus-goers also say that on the basis of religion alone, it would be unacceptable for a Muslim to be a U.S. president—a view Carson espoused in a Sept. 20 appearance on NBC's Meet the Press.
“He just says what he believes and I like that,” said Bruce Lindberg, 56, a chiropractor from Ottumwa who is leaning toward supporting Carson. “I like his story. He's been a hard worker and I don't think anything was given to him. He knows what it takes to be successful and that you have to work for it.”
The poll suggests Carson has more room to grow in Iowa, partly because his controversial statements generally aren't turning off even other candidates' supporters. Among that group, 56 percent find “very attractive” his statements that the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, is the worst thing since slavery, while 41 percent feel that way about his opposition to a Muslim president. Nearly half find “very attractive” his statement that Adolf Hitler's mass murder of Jews might not have been as successful if more people had been armed.
I just can't even. What is the matter with these people?