Over the weekend, Donald Trump expressed skepticism about the accuracy of polls showing retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson jumping ahead of him for the lead in Iowa.
But on Monday, two new polls were released indicating that Carson is ahead of Trump in Iowa — where the first votes of the Republican presidential race will be cast — by double-digits.
A Loras College poll of Iowa Republicans released Monday shows Carson winning 30.6 percent to Trump’s 18.6 percent — a 12 point margin. (The poll has a margin of error of 4.4 percent).
The Loras poll also shows Marco Rubio at 10 percent, Jeb Bush at 6.8 percent, Ted Cruz at 6.2 percent, Bobby Jindal at 4.6 percent, Carly Fiorina at 2.4 percent, Chris Christie at 1.8 percent, John Kasich at 1.4 percent, Rand Paul at 1.8 percent, Mike Huckabee at 1.2 percent, Rick Santorum at .8 percent and Lindsay Graham at .4 percent.
Meanwhile, a Monmouth University Poll of likely Iowa Republican caucus-goers shows Carson with a 14 point lead over Trump. Carson leads with 32 percent, compared to Trump’s 18 percent in the poll. (The poll has a margin of error of 4.9 percent.)
The Monmouth poll also shows Ted Cruz at 10 percent, Marco Rubio 10 percent, Jeb Bush at 8 percent, Carly Fiorina at 5 percent, Rand Paul at 3 percent, Mike Huckabee at 2 percent, Bobby Jindal at 2 percent, and John Kasich at 2 percent.
Trump has derided Carson as “low-energy,” and, after the polls showed him behind, questioned the former doctor’s religion.
“I’m Presbyterian,” Trump said at a rally in Florida. “Boy, that’s down the middle of the road, folks, in all fairness. I mean, Seventh Day Adventist — I don’t know about. I just don’t know about.”
Appearing on Fox News Sunday, Carson said he didn’t want to get into a fight with Trump. “You know, I really refuse to really get into the mud pit,” he said.
But Carson said he was surprised to see Trump bring up his faith. “It’s kind of interesting because the conflict that we had a couple of months ago…he thought I was questioning his faith and he went ballistic on that,” he said. “So, it seems a little interesting that he would now be doing that.”