Ben Carson has overtaken Donald Trump nationally in a new CBS News/New York Times poll. (AP/Getty Images)
For months, Donald Trump has been the frontrunner in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. Not anymore.
According to a new CBS News/New York Times national poll released Tuesday, Ben Carson leads Trump 26 percent to 22 percent among likely Republican voters, though Carson’s four-point lead is within the survey’s margin of error.
The latest numbers show just how much the retired neurosurgeon is surging. In August, the same poll found just 6 percent support for Carson’s candidacy. In two months, support for him has more than quadrupled, the new poll found.
The rest of the GOP field trails far behind. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (8 percent) is in third, followed by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (7 percent) and former Hewlett-Packard chief executive Carly Fiorina (7 percent).
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee are tied for ninth place with 4 percent each.
(Screenshot: CBS News)
2016 Republican presidential race
• Ben Carson — 26 percent
• Donald Trump — 22 percent
• Marco Rubio — 8 percent
• Jeb Bush — 7 percent
• Carly Fiorina — 7 percent
• Rand Paul — 4 percent
• Ted Cruz — 4 percent
• John Kasich — 4 percent
• Mike Huckabee — 4 percent
Source: CBS News/New York Times poll, Oct. 21-25
The swap at the top comes on the heels of a pair of polls released last week that found Carson overtaking Trump in Iowa.
According to a Bloomberg Politics/Des Moines Register poll released Friday, Carson unseated Trump as the top choice (28 percent) among likely GOP caucus-goers, with the real estate mogul (19 percent) occupying unfamiliar territory: second place.
“I don’t get it,” Trump said in an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Tuesday.
Carson’s surge appears to have been driven by two key Republican groups: women and evangelicals.
“In a reversal from earlier this month, he is now ahead of Trump among women,” CBS News’ pollsters noted. “Carson’s support among evangelicals has risen and he now leads Trump by more than 20 points with this group.”
But Trump, who just last week was boasting about his 100th day at the top of the polls, vowed to stay in the race even if it is from behind.
“Whatever happens happens,” he said. “I’d still be proud of my effort because I’ve done very well.”
The good news for Trump is that most GOP voters haven’t made up their minds. Seven in 10 likely Republican primary voters have yet to say which candidate they’ll support. And most of Trump’s supporters have made up their minds, while just 19 percent of those currently backing Carson say they are firm in their choice.
Trump also believes there are skeletons in Carson’s closet.
“Those problems are going to start to come out,” he said. “You know, it’s amazing. When you’re in first place it’s like a cleansing action. A lot of things will come out and we’ll see how he holds up to the scrutiny.”