According to the latest polling numbers, real-estate tycoon Donald Trump and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson are pulling way ahead of the career politicians in the race for the Republican presidential nomination.
Trump leads with 27% of the vote in a poll released by CNN today (Oct. 20), and with 25% support according to an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll yesterday. Trump’s numbers are down from a September peak above 30%, and Carson is catching up, now placing within the margin of error. According to a poll average from Real Clear Politics, both are more than 10 percentage points ahead of Florida senator Marco Rubio, who tops the list of traditional politicians in the race, with former Florida governor Jeb Bush and Texas senator Ted Cruz following closely behind. Former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, who surged after the second presidential debate, has fallen back toward the bottom of the pack.
While Trump remains the leader as a first-choice candidate, according to the NBC/WSJ poll, more GOP voters would be willing to support Carson, with a whopping 74%. But Trump has risen in that category as well, with 59% of respondents saying they would support his candidacy for president, an increase from 47% in September.
Over the weekend, Trump sparred with Jeb Bush over the record of his older brother in keeping America safe, suggesting that George W. Bush failed to protect the US from the 9/11 attacks. According to New York Times polling, statements like this could hurt Trump in the primaries, with Republican voters more likely to side with the Bush family.
Speculation as to when Trump will quit the race continue to proliferate, despite assurances from the candidate that he will “never” drop out. And now, a new question has emerged: What about a joint Trump-Carson ticket? The business mogul told CNN: ”Stranger things have happened.”