NBC/Marist Polls: Carson Continues to Surge, Bush Beating Dem Opponents

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A brand new set of NBC/Marist polls released yesterday measured head-to-head matchups and the Democratic and Republic races in Iowa and New Hampshire with some fascinating results. Of particular interest are the continuing Ben Carson surge, the paradox of performance by Jeb Bush and Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders’ opening lead in New Hampshire.

First, the past week or so of polling has indicated that Ben Carson is running second only to Donald Trump nationally and that he is a close second in Iowa as well, even tied in one poll. The new NBC/Marist results reinforce the finding in Iowa, where Trump and he run 1-2 by a double-digit margin.

Trump is at 29 percent and Carson is at 22 percent, while distant third is occupied by Jeb Bush at 6 points. Scott Walker and Rand Paul are tied for fourth at 5 points.

Bigger news for Carson: he’s in double digits for the first time in New Hampshire at 11 percent, in close third behind John Kasich who is at 12 points. Carson had been averaging around 6% in New Hampshire, polling no higher than 8%. With his high favorability in every poll that has measured it recently, Carson is clearly Donald Trump’s biggest competition.

Jeb Bush runs fourth in New Hampshire in single digits at 8 percent. Kasich seems to be the preferred establishment candidate in the Granite State, which is bad news for Bush, who, despite having the early fundraising advantage and the backing of a lot of influential people in the Republican Party, has failed to gain traction.

But there is an odd paradox when comparing Bush’s numbers and Trump’s. Although Trump’s numbers triple or quadruple Bush’s in primary and caucus polls, in head-to-head matchups against potential Democratic nominees, Bush performs noticeably better than Trump does.

Bush beats Hillary in Iowa by 11 points and in New Hampshire by 5. Trump beats her as well in Iowa, by 5, but loses to her by a point in New Hampshire. Matched up against Joe Biden, Bush narrowly wins in both Iowa and New Hampshire, by 2 points and 1 point, respectively. Trump, on the other hand, loses to Biden in both cases, by 4 in Iowa and 9 in New Hampshire.

Sanders, despite undeniably beating Hillary in New Hampshire in and doing reasonably well in Iowa, was not included in the head-to-head matchups. In Iowa, he trails Clinton by 11 points. She is at 38 percent and he is at 27. Biden, who is still not in the race, polls third in double digits at 20 percent.

He continues his solid, month-long lead over Clinton in New Hampshire. In NBC/Marist’s poll, he leads by 9 points at 41 percent to Hillary’s 32 percent. Biden runs third again in double digits, at 16 percent.

NBC/Marist’s results show the evolving nature of this primary. Carson, like Trump and Carly Fiorina, have been performing well, as a large number of voters on the right search for an outsider to nominate. Similarly, the search continues for the candidate who is both popular with Republicans (as Trump currently is) and in the general (as Bush currently is.)

As much as the volatile nature of the Republican primary might concern conservatives, Democrats should be more concerned. The coronation of Hillary Clinton continues to go so badly that the Left is grasping for a socialist and a gaffe-prone vice president who isn’t even in the race yet.