Trump on His Lost Lead in Iowa: Polls 'Are Wrong'

Trump on His Lost Lead in Iowa: Polls 'Are Wrong'
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MIAMI — Some Republicans have wondered how Donald Trump would react when, finally, he did not lead in a poll.

That question was answered Friday during a rally at the businessman’s golf course and resort in Miami, Trump National Doral. And, perhaps unsurprisingly, Trump did not take the news quietly.

After 100 straight days atop the national polls, Trump got his first taste of electoral adversity this week when retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson surged to the top in Iowa. Carson led Trump by nine points in a Des Moines Register/Bloomberg poll released Friday, and by eight points in a Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday.

Trump couldn’t quite believe it.

“I love Iowa, and I honestly believe those polls are wrong,” he said. “I’m a Presbyterian, I’m a great Christian.”

Later, Trump questioned the motives of the pollsters themselves, although he has touted polling by the same outlets in the past.

“Those pollsters do not like me,” he said.

For the real estate tycoon, whose candidacy is fundamentally rooted in the concept of winning, polling has been at the center of his campaign message. At a recent rally in Richmond, Va., Trump opened his remarks by reading off recent poll results, state by state, for 10 minutes.

Much of that material was still intact Saturday: Trump still leads nearly everywhere else, and he received a rousing cheer from the crowd when he mentioned his strong standing in Florida. But he dwelled on the news out of Iowa.

When the most recent poll was released, Trump said, “My wife called and she said, ‘Are you OK?’ And I said, ‘How bad is it? How bad is it?’”

The media’s interpretation, he concluded, “made it sound like it’s the greatest defeat in history.”

Another immediate consequence of the polling seems to be that Trump has found a new target for his attacks: Whereas he has taken pleasure in criticizing Jeb Bush as “low energy,” Carson is now “super low energy” in Trump’s estimation.

“We need tremendous energy,” he said Friday.

And as Trump recited his signature promise to “bring back jobs from China,” he added this new line: "Honestly, Ben Carson cannot do that, folks."

But Trump isn’t the only one a bit stunned by the latest Iowa polling: Carson, too, expressed surprise Friday at the results.

“I expected that I was going to sort of inch past Trump, but I didn’t think it would be that giant leap,” he told the Des Moines Register on Friday.

Rebecca Berg is a national political reporter for RealClearPolitics. She can be reached at rberg@realclearpolitics.com.

 

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