But I'm struck by the Republican results. Yes, Donald Trump still has a clear lead. But look who's gaining on him -- fast:
Yup, Ben Carson is only 5 points behind Trump -- and at 18%, he's 10 points ahead of the next two guys, Scott Walker and Ted Cruz, who are at 8%. (Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio are tied for fifth, at 6%.)
What's more, Carson has the highest favorable rating among Republicans, at 79%. (Trump's is now a healthy 61% -- so much for Trump being loved by a minority of Republicans and loathed by a majority, at least in Iowa. Jeb is at 45% favorable, 50% unfavorable.)
This is only of several recent GOP polls in which Carson has finished strong. He's second to Trump in the latest Quinnipiac national poll. He's second to Trump in the latest Monmouth poll of South Carolina. He's second to Walker in the latest Marquette poll of Wisconsin. He's second to Trump in the latest Public Policy Polling survey of North Carolina.
And in the new Hot Air/Survey Monkey national poll, Carson ties Jeb Bush for second place, behind Trump.
Which gets to ascenario a lot of people have been pondering: How would Trump do if the GOP race came down to two candidates? In that Hot Air survey, no one does better against Trump than Carson:
... we decided to test Trump’s performance at this point in head-to-head matchups against his Republican opponents, assuming the primary had come down to two choices. Among both Republicans and independents, Trump lost to Bush 47/53, Carson 42/58, Rubio 45/55, and Fiorina 46/54.... When restricted to only Republicans, Trump beat Bush 53/47, Rubio 52/48, and Fiorina 52/48, but still lost to Carson 48/52. Trump beat both Walker and Cruz in both scenarios.
The Trump-vs.-anti-Trump scenario that's been comforting GOP Establishmentarians relies on two assumptions: that 15 also-rans will drop out -- and that the remaining anti-Trump will be a safe, Establishment-friendly, electable candidate.
I don't know if Ben Carson fills that bill. He's not an obnoxious sexist blowhard like Trump, but he's the one other candidate in the race who seems as unqualified and ill-informed as Trump, and, in his quiet way, he says plenty of imprudent, outrageous things. Abortion is comparable to human sacrifice! Obamacare is the worst thing since slavery! President Obama acts like a psychopath! The Advance Placement history curriculum is so bad it would inspire students to sign up for ISIS!
Who's waiting to seize the GOP lead if Trump falters? Not Bush or Kasich or Rubio or Walker. This guy.