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Ben Carson Bounces Back in Thanksgiving Poll

The latest Reuters tracking poll shows neurosurgeon Ben Carson jumping back into 2nd place in the race for the GOP nomination.

Carson had lost ground in the days immediately following the terrorist attacks in Paris. Just two days ago, Carson was in 4th place with 9.8 percent, behind Donald Trump and Sens. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz.

The latest tracking poll, covering November 22-27, finds Donald Trump first with 31 percent, followed by Carson with 14.9 percent. Sens. Rubio and Cruz are tied with 8.4 percent each. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is 5th, with 6.5 percent.

According to the updated numbers, Trump has lost most of the polling bounce he received after the Paris terror attacks. Following the attacks, Trump saw his support explode to almost 43 percent, up sharply from the low-to-mid 30s he’s held over the last two months.

Daily fluctuations in tracking polls should always be viewed with some caution, as they are built on a small number of interviews conducted each day. They are very accurate at assessing overall trends, but numbers on a particular day can be overstated.

This is especially true when the tracking period includes a major holiday like Thanksgiving. Friday’s tracking numbers include Black Friday, Thanksgiving, and the day before the holiday, the biggest travel day of the year.

On Wednesday’s tracking poll, for example, businesswoman Carly Fiorina had 2.9 percent support. On Thursday and Friday, though, she registered no support. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul registered zero support as well. Meanwhile, former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore earned 3.2 percent support on Thursday and 2.8 percent support on Friday.

Gov. Gilmore has not previously registered in any other national polling.

Factoring out the quirks of polling over a major holiday, the Republican race remains essentially a four-way race, with Trump holding a strong first place position, followed by a three-way cluster of Carson, Rubio, and Cruz.

This positioning will likely hold until the first votes are cast in about two months.

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