A new Iowa poll shows Donald Trump holding 24 percent of the vote in heavily evangelical Iowa, up five points over the last few weeks.
Social-conservative Ben Carson has 17 percent, while newcomer Carly Fiorina has jumped up to 13 percent, well above Job Bush’s 6th-place score of 9 percent.
The poll was conducted by Public Policy Polling, which typically works for Democratic candidates.
But the second-choice votes show a problem for Trump. His share rises only 6 points to 30 percent, while Fiorina reaches 29 percent, and Carson gets to 31 percent.
Still, Trump’s 24 percent score is huge for a New York businessman with no visible traces of religious piety, in a state where 69 percent of voters say that President Barack Obama has “waged a war” on Christianity.
That belief has already been validated by Trump. “Christians need support in our country (and around the world), their religious liberty is at stake! Obama has been horrible, I will be great,” he tweeted on September 19.
Trump’s backing for Carson’s criticism of Islam is also popular in Iowa. The poll’s press release said:
Only 49% of Republicans think the religion of Islam should even be legal in the United States with 30% saying it should not be and 21% not sure. Among Trump voters there is almost even division with 38% thinking Islam should be allowed and 36% that it should not.
Still, Iowa’s nice voters do not want to like Trump’s hard-nosed criticism of other candidates:
59% of GOP voters think his comments about Carly Fiorina’s appearance are inappropriate to only 13% who think they’re alright. And 49% think his comments about Columba Bush are inappropriate to only 22% who think they’re alright.
There’s room for Trump and Carson to gain more support in the state:
Ben Carson is by far and away the most well liked of the Republican candidates in Iowa. 77% view him favorably to only 11% with an unfavorable opinion. … The second most broadly liked of the Republican hopefuls is Carly Fiorina, who has a 62/15 favorability rating.
Trump’s ratings are 48/38, meaning 48 percent have a favorable opinion, while 38 percent have a negative opinion.
Bush, however, is underwater, with a favorable rating of only 38 percent, or 2 points below his unfavorable rating of 40 percent.