Pretty much an instant replay and corroboration of yesterday's Quinnipiac Iowa survey:
Carson, a retired neurosurgeon, is the favorite choice for 28% — nine percentage points ahead of Trump’s 19%…
“The outsiders are still beating the insiders, of course, but that’s not what is interesting,” Castellanos said. “What’s interesting is that the moral outsider (Carson) is whipping the [politician-businessman]-outsider (Trump) and crushing the hope-and-change insiders (Bush and Rubio).”…
"Hope and change"? Hey, Mr. Castellanos, I'm no fan or even tolerator of House Bush, but I think Jeb would be more than justified in taking that as a below-the-belt insult.
Cruz has a solid favorable rating: 61% view him positively, 26% negatively. But about twice as many likely caucusgoers have very favorable feelings about Carson compared with Cruz (53% to 28%), even though Cruz is second-highest in the field on that passion measure…
Senator Cruz's unforgivable sin? He's a senator. He won an election. He's an "insider". Nothing else matters to Republican caucus-goers and primary voters. They actively, actually want as president somebody who doesn't know the first thing about the job, about policy, or about politics in general. That's how insanely upside-down and inside-out GOP politics has become in 2015.
Carson has a different superpower: His statements that he would be guided by his faith in God are an attractive attribute for 89% of likely caucus-goers. That’s topped only by the 96% who find his perceived common sense attractive.
Carsonites had better hope that latter trait is portable to other States besides Iowa, because the Christian values angle sure as shinola won't be. But then, if the Republican electorate cared about common sense, Donald Trump wouldn't be one of the front-runners, would he?
The more I think about it, the more tempted I am to just write off Dr. C as the Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum of 2016, the evangelical niche candidate who wins Iowa and then quickly fades. Trump cleans up in "mavericky" New Hampshire, the "Trump comeback!" narrative is launched, and it's all over but the groaning.
But there is one factor about a Carson win in Iowa that could damage Trump unlike any other candidate, and that is his self-proclaimed veneer of invincibility. What is his constant justification of his candidacy? That he's ahead, that he's in the lead, that he's winning. Remember the late-80s Ivana Trump ad slogan? "Success is the best revenge". He cannonballed into the race back in June with his illegal immigration rant, exploited GOP grassroots frustration and anger over the party leadership's obstinate refusal to listen to them on the issue, and hijacked the overcrowded race. And ever since he's relentlessly cited his front-runner status at every opportunity.
But now he's only the co-frontrunner nationally, and he's collapsing in Iowa, with very little chance of making a comeback there. His preferred campaign tactic - barrages of caustic insults - isn't going to play in the Hawkeye State:
The man who "always wins" going away is....losing. Losing ground to Gentle Ben and falling behind him in the polls, in Iowa and nationally. Can his ego take that? Can he adjust his tactics to the changing state of the race? Is he capable of being humbled and doing what needs to be done to come back if what needs to be done cuts completely against his "brash" image and personality?
One thing we know with confidence is that the Democrat/Media Complex won't goad him in that direction, because he's a Democrat and because they don't want him out of the Republican race, both because they want to see him sabotage the GOP from within and because he's so gosh darn entertaining.
And that's what presidential politics is all about these days, right?