Donald Trump effectively broke the presidential primary mold earlier this year with his brash entry into the 2016 GOP race. Since then, his polarizing rhetoric has earned scorn from critical pundits on both sides of the aisle while further endearing him to a faithful base of supporters.
Dr. Ben Carson, Trump’s softer-spoken but no less unconventional rival, has followed a similar trajectory in recent weeks — rising to a firm second-place standing in the polls on the strength of unwavering positions on several key issues. Despite weathering numerous profane and often racist attacks from his leftist detractors, though, recent polling shows Carson in a statistical tie with front-runner Trump.
Furthermore, Carson is the second choice for 18 percent of Republican primary voters while just 13 percent selected Trump.
Perhaps even more telling is his popularity against struggling Democrat hopeful Hillary Clinton. While she performed poorly against all potential Republican rivals, her deficit against Carson — 11 points — was the largest.