GOP Debate

Fellow Republican 2016 U.S. presidential candidates Dr. Ben Carson (L), Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (2nd L) and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush (R) laugh as fellow candidate and businessman Donald Trump (2nd R) reacts near the end of the debate after realizing that a slew of criticisms spoken by fellow candidate and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee (not pictured) were not aimed at him but at Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, at the first official Republican presidential candidates debate of the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign in Cleveland, Ohio, August 6, 2015. (© REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

David Weigel
The Washington Post
Sunday, August 30, 2015

One of politics’ most reliable polls has found first-time candidates Donald Trump and Ben Carson galloping to big leads in the Iowa caucuses. The Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics poll, released Saturday night, also finds one-time front-runner Scott Walker, governor of neighboring Wisconsin, losing the dominance he’s had all year.

The poll of 400 likely Republican caucus-goers finds Trump experiencing the biggest overall surge in support, leading a thriving pack of outsiders. In May, before the tycoon officially entered the Republican primaries, the DMR/BPol survey found him at just 4 percent support, with a toxic favorable rating of -36 points. The new poll finds Trump at 23 percent, and a positive favorable rating of 26 points, a dramatic reversal in voter opinion. Carson has surged by eight points, from 10 to 18 percent, and seen his favorable rating surge from +41 to +71.

Two candidates seeking office for just the second time also saw notable gains. Carly Fiorina, the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, saw a jump from just 2 to 5 percent, but her favorable numbers rose from +26 to +49, a gain reflected in the high number of Republicans calling her their second choice. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) rose from 5 to 8 percent, with smaller but notable growth in his favorable numbers.

Those gains came at the expense of more experienced candidates — starting with Walker. He tumbled from 17 percent support to 8 percent, despite boasting some of the highest favorable ratings of anyone in the race. Former Florida governor Jeb Bush fared no better, slipping from 9 percent to 6 percent as his favorable rating remained underwater.

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