NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Ben Carson has pulled ahead of Donald Trump and is now at the top of the field in the race for the Republican nomination, according to the latest national CBS News/New York Times poll.
Twenty-six percent of Republican primary voters now back Carson while 22 percent are backing Trump, the poll found.
Support for Carson has quadrupled since August, according to the poll. But while more than half of Trump voters say their minds are made up about their support, 79 percent of Carson’s voters say they could change their minds.
“The thing with these polls is they’re all so different, they’re coming from all over the lot where one guy is up here and somebody else is up there or you see swings of 10 and 12 points, immediately even the same say,” Trump said Tuesday on MSNBC in response to Carson’s surge in Iowa polls. “So right now, it’s not very scientific. I think it’s very hard when you have this many, but overall I am a believer in polls, I think they say something, at least they spot a trend.”
Marco Rubio is in third place at 8 percent followed by Jeb Bush and Carly Fiorina, who are both at 7 percent. All other candidates are at 4 percent or lower.
The poll was conducted by telephone October 21-25, 2015 among a random sample of 1,289 adults nationwide, including 1,136 registered voters.
The margin of error for the sample of 575 Republican primary voters is 6 percentage points.
In a separate CBS News/New York Times poll, Republicans expressed deep concern about the federal government. Half saw it as a threat to their life and liberty, six in 10 thought the federal government thought it was violating their constitutional rights, and 34 percent were angry at the government.
Among those who identified as very conservative, 64 percent even saw the federal government as a threat.
Specifically, a total of 49 percent of Republicans were every concerned about the federal government interfering with people freely practicing their religion, and 43 percent thought it was likely that stricter gun laws would lead to the federal government confiscating guns from legal owners.
Three in four Republican voters thought the U.S. political system was not working due to gridlock, and while 56 percent wanted Republicans in Congress to compromise to get things done, 39 percent of respondents – and 59 percent of those who are very conservative – wanted their members of Congress to stick to their positions.
The poll data were released the day before the third Republican presidential debate will be held Wednesday night in Boulder, Colorado.
On the eve of the debate, Carson promised not to curb his penchant for using extreme examples to prove his points, such as equating abortion with slavery and comparing Islamic State fighters to patriots of the American Revolution.
“I don’t buy the PC stuff. I just don’t buy it,” Carson said in a Tuesday interview with The Associated Press. He said the country can discuss complicated issues as adults, and he suggested people could learn from his example.
“One of my goals is to get us to mature as a society,” he said. “We should be mature enough to be able to talk about things without going into a tizzy.”
To date, Carson’s style has not affected his climb through the GOP’s ranks to challenge Trump as a front-runner.
(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)