Poll Watch: Ben Carson Edges Ahead Nationally in Times/CBS News Poll

27 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Carson overtakes Trump in first national poll.

For the first time in a national poll, Ben Carson has overtaken Donald Trump, leading the Manhattan businessman in the CBS News/New York Times survey of Republican primary voters out Tuesday.The success of Donald Trump and Ben Carson have turned the members of the GOP elite into anthropologists, struggling to understand those ordinary Republicans who now resemble an exotic and hostile tribe. “I have no feeling for the electorate anymore,” George H.W.Donald Trump enjoys his reputation as a magnate whose own smarts and business savvy made him a billionaire, but he acknowledged Monday that his father helped him out — with a “small” million-dollar loan. “It has not been easy for me,” the Republican Party frontrunner in the 2016 presidential nomination race told an NBC television-hosted town hall in New Hampshire. “I started off in Brooklyn.

In ways large and small, with policy and with personality, billionaire Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is forcing his party’s establishment to confront the vast divide between party leaders and the voters who for more than 100 days have wanted him to carry their torch to the White House. Bush’s former chief of staff John Sununu told the New York Times last Saturday. “Their priorities are so different that if I tried to analyze it I’d be making it up.” On Monday, Politico quoted a GOP donor from Florida who fretted that, “I look at this party now, and I hardly recognize it. My father gave me a small loan of a million dollars,” he said, noting that he had to pay back his father, New York self-made millionaire real estate mogul Fred Trump, with interest. Ever since Trump’s presidential bid caught fire, Republican strategists have wondered how he would react if he began to slip in the polls he so loves to cite. The comments raised eyebrows during a campaign season where conservative voters have all but rejected former Florida governor Jeb Bush, the son and brother of two former presidents, in favor of self-made political outsiders like Trump and retired pediatric neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who grew up poor.

Another tie Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump has to the Garden State is his time in the mid-1980s as owner of the New Jersey Generals of the USFL — a time that still draws controversy. Trump is offering Republicans something no other candidate can: An insider’s knowledge of the elite combined with a mischievous determination to upend it and an unorthodox set of policy prescriptions—running the gamut from immigration to campaign finance to Social Security—that aim to achieve that goal.

In this year’s contest for the Republican nomination, that platform has proven to have staying power. “We’re all out there like little bee workers trying to get these people elected, and then nothing changes!” said Fay Schall, a 63-year-old conservative Republican from O’Brian County, Iowa. Armed Forces in New Jersey to obtain perks reserved for veterans and active duty servicemen and woman will be hit with prison time and a steep fine under a bill Christie signed into law. • More than 40 advocacy and labor groups are urging New Jersey lawmakers to oppose any deal that cuts the state estate tax in exchange for a gas tax hike. • The U.S. A Trump supporter, she said the real estate tycoon articulates the frustration voters feel, in part because he doesn’t worry about being politically correct. “People are tired of it,” she said. “I think that’s the nerve that Trump is hitting. Reacting on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Tuesday to those results and to four recent Iowa polls that found him trailing the retired neurosurgeon, Trump said that he generally believes in polls, having studied about them while a student at the Wharton School of Business. “Well I think you have to understand polls. Transportation Department is spending $16 million on projects leading to replacing the century-old Portal Bridge, a key rail link along the Northeast Corridor for trains heading between New York and New Jersey.

He’s also a lobbyist who earned north of $600,000 last year representing, among other clients, the for-profit college industry, which has been trying to avoid regulations aimed at ensuring that colleges don’t sucker students into taking out massive debt for a degree that won’t get them a job. Watching how he handles an adverse moment, particularly against a rival who enjoys a highly favorable image among Republicans, could prove significant for GOP voters. You’d think they were talking about someone with moderate views who’d be able to get along and work with anyone, not someone who wants to outlaw abortion even in cases of rape and incest, thinks we should ditch Medicare, and holds to all manner of weird conspiracy theories. The thing with these polls, they’re all so different, they’re coming from all over the lot where one guy’s up here and somebody else is up there or you see swings of 10 and 12 points and you know, like, immediately, the same day,” Trump remarked. “So right now, it’s not very scientific. After calling super-PACs a “scam” and disavowing the ones backing him (none of which have reported receipts so far to the Federal Election Commission, making it impossible to determine whether Trump is making much of a sacrifice), Trump is urging his competitors to do the same. “All Presidential candidates should immediately disavow their super-PACs.

What they want, Politico explains, is “tangible evidence that the product they’re investing in is going to pay dividends.” The Trump and Carson phenomena are not the same. Most of the time, we expect that when politicians take radical stands, they do it with raised voices and fists pounding on lecterns. “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice,” Barry Goldwater thundered in his 1964 convention speech, and “moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.” We assume that ideologues will be the angry ones, while moderates will come across as sensible and ordinary. For months he has characterized his Republican rivals as puppets of the wealthy donors they depend on, zeroing in first on Jeb Bush, who is supported by a super-PAC that had nearly $100 million cash on hand as of its most recent filing with the FEC, and more recently on Ben Carson, the beneficiary of several super-PACs. But while Trump may disparage the polls that show him trailing, he has clearly begun taking Carson seriously as a rival, criticizing him on both substantive and personal grounds. Led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Republicans in Congress have consistently opposed limits on political donations, arguing that it’s a form of free speech.

While Republicans tend to back smaller government, Medicare is supremely popular with the majority of Republican voters, who are generally older than the rest of the electorate. Mike Huckabee used to say that he was a conservative, he just wasn’t angry about it — an acknowledgement that to lots of voters in the middle, conservatism is associated with disgruntlement and contempt, as though the GOP were a party built on the fundamental principle that you damn kids better get off my lawn or else. For the last eight years, conservatives have been angrier than ever before — mostly at Barack Obama, but also at a world that continues to change and evolve in ways they don’t like. While Republican politicians—including arch-conservative presidential candidate Ted Cruz—want to increase legal immigration, 67 percent of Republicans want to decrease immigration flows and 63 percent view immigrants as a burden, according to surveys by the Pew Research Institute.

Trump has also accused Carson of being “low energy” — an accusation he previously threw at Jeb Bush — and has raised questions about Carson’s Seventh-day Adventist faith. “I’m Presbyterian,” Trump said at a recent campaign rally in Florida. “Boy, that’s down the middle of the road, folks, in all fairness. Trump caught fire over the summer with incendiary rhetoric about illegal immigration from Mexico and by being the first to call for deporting an estimated 11 million people now living in the U.S. illegally. Seventy-one percent prefer “limiting the amount of money individuals can contribute to political campaigns” rather than “allowing individuals to contribute as much money to political campaigns as they’d like.” Eighty-one percent think that “the way political campaigns are funded in the United States” requires “fundamental changes” or should be “completely rebuilt.” If these numbers are surprising, perhaps it’s because Republicans, unlike Democrats, speak more often in the language of culture and character than the language of class. Schmidt calls Trump’s remarks “intemperate” but acknowledges that the insurgent candidate’s willingness to own his political incorrectness enhances his appeal.

A poll released Monday by Loras College in Iowa showed Carson beating Trump by 18 percentage points among those who identified as evangelicals but only 2 percentage points among those who did not. Carson can say the same, but instead of grand pronouncements about how super-luxurious America will be once he’s in charge, he whispers sweet nothings into conservatives’ ears, at a volume so low they have to strain to hear. Donald Trump doubles down,” Schmidt said. “That’s the proof point—he’s too rich, he’s too wealthy to be bought off, unlike all these politicians who’ve been bought and sold by the billionaires. It’s hard to tell how many primary voters understand that, particularly since most Americans don’t have a fine-grained understanding of where everyone in politics stands ideologically.

That is the populist fuel that is driving his campaign.” Trump’s immigration theme taps into the anxieties of white working class Americans who feel that “the country is becoming a majority-minority country and the people who felt that they were in the ascendancy are now descending,” said Norm Ornstein, a political scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. “It’s not just racism but certainly race is a part of it. One thing we do know is that Ben Carson’s string of offensive and bizarre statements hasn’t hurt him at all with primary voters; if anything, they’ve helped. So it’s unlikely that too many people are being fooled by his calm into thinking he’s some kind of moderate; perhaps they think other people might be fooled.

They’re selfish and they’re doing what people are paying them to do.” He likes Trump because “he’s not doing what the Republican mainstream are doing,” Koch said. “And I don’t want what the Republican mainstream are doing.” Trump also breaks with Republican elites who support free trade and want to cut Social Security and Medicare. But if any of them actually think that he could change the way business is done because he’s gentle and genteel, they haven’t been paying much attention to politics in America lately. Nearly all Republican candidates from Bush to Senator Marco Rubio are campaigning on cutting entitlements and many want to ink the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade accord. Whoever that nominee is, when the general election begins he’ll claim to represent the soul of mainstream thinking, while his opponent is a dangerous extremist whose beliefs and proposals are strange and frightening.

Those concerns could be heard last week at a focus group in Indiana, sponsored by the Annenberg Public Policy Center, where a dozen Republican voters talked about their choices. Virtually all expressed distaste — even disgust — for professional politicians, including Republican elected officials whom they blamed for failing to accomplish the goals for which they were elected. “Sometimes there isn’t time to pussyfoot around,” said John Couch, a 50-year-old self-employed party planner, explaining why he thought Trump’s directness could help the country. But doubts about the brash New Yorker came quickly to the surface as veteran pollster Peter Hart, the group’s moderator, asked participants to cite adjectives to describe Trump. After Bush said his brother “kept us safe,” Trump observed that the elder Bush brother was president on Sept. 11, 2001, the day terrorist attacks took down the World Trade Center and damaged the Pentagon.

Asked at the end of the session to choose a single candidate to whom they would like to send a message, Phelps chose to offer Trump a piece of advice that spoke for many: “You’ve got great policies,” she said, “but tone it down.” Trump says it is a war that he has opposed—unlike most Republican party leaders in Washington but like most voters: 71 percent of Americans view the war as a mistake, with Republicans about evenly split, according to a 2014 poll. But Ornstein notes that the Republican base is “so consumed with anger at their establishment” and that Trump’s blustery attitude has a strong appeal to that sort of frustration. “For people who believe their own establishment has been basically humiliated and taken to the cleaners repeatedly by Barack Obama, a guy who says ‘You tap me on the shoulders and I’ll cut your legs off’ gets attention,” he said. Ornstein offered several scenarios that could cause Trump to fall, including losing Iowa and New Hampshire. “If he goes through a period where he’s not the front-runner he could get frustrated and hang it up.” But he’s not betting on a collapse, and he’s not alone.

Although recent polls place him second to Carson in Iowa, Trump enjoys comfortable leads nationally and in the early states of New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada. Nationally, Republican voters view Trump as their most electable candidate in a general election, according to an Associated Press/GfK poll released Sunday. “Anybody who thinks Donald Trump cannot be the Republican nominee is smoking something,” said Schmidt.

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