Why Ben Carson Is Surging

Ben Carson, in many ways, is the antithesis of Donald Trump.

Mr. Trump is loud and bombastic; Dr. Carson is low-key and genial. When Trump speaks, he chops his hands in the air as if to enhance his brashness. Carson has calm, steady, surgeon’s hands – “Gifted Hands,” as his memoir is titled. Trump comes across as the aggressively self-confident businessman he is; Carson has the bedside manner of the physician he is.

And they’re both hot properties in the GOP presidential nomination race, ranked one and two nationally, and tied for the lead in the latest poll out of Iowa. Trump and Carson each got 23 percent of the vote among likely Iowa GOP caucus-goers, according to a Monmouth University poll released Monday.  Iowa’s Republican caucuses, scheduled for Feb. 2, are the first contest in the 2016 nominating race, and are a crucial test.

The outsider appeal of the three nonpoliticians in the GOP race – Trump, Carson, and Carly Fiorina, former CEO of Hewlett Packard – is well-documented. For Trump and Carson, another common denominator is authenticity. Each is being himself, and in a field packed with career politicians, that’s a plus.

Carson is gaining support because “he’s viewed as principled,” says Republican strategist Ford O’Connell. “Second, he’s widely seen as likeable. And third, he doesn’t talk like a politician. Any time voters hear something that sounds like political double talk, they tune out."

Read more from Linda Feldmann at The Christian Science Monitor 

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Analysis & Political Strategy