Trump falls behind Carson in crucial state Iowa's polls
A new poll of Republican US presidential contenders shows Ben Carson has overtaken Donald Trump for the first time in the crucial early-voting state of Iowa.
Mr Trump has led in Iowa in every major poll since July, but a poll yesterday from Quinnipiac University shows Dr Carson with an eight-point advantage.
He received 28pc to Mr Trump's 20pc, with Senator Marco Rubio in third at 13pc and establishment favourite Jeb Bush trailing far behind, in a tie for sixth place on 5pc.
The Iowa caucuses will open the Republican primaries on February 1, and the returns in Iowa will go a long way toward determining who will become the eventual nominee.
Dr Carson, a retired neurosurgeon who has never before sought political office, has climbed steadily in the polls in recent weeks. He now trails Mr Trump nationally by just six points, and sits 12 points clear of third-place Mr Rubio, according to Real Clear Politics.
Yesterday's poll continues the trend of political outsiders dominating the field. No survey has shown anyone who has held political office leading nationally since mid-July.
Some leading Republicans, meanwhile, have grown increasingly concerned by Trump's staying power, leading to fresh calls for an organised takedown campaign to protect the party's image heading into 2016.
"At some point, the things he says go from being 'crazy old Donald Trump' to defining - this is how Republicans think and feel. And that's dangerous," said Katie Packer, who served on 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney's campaign team.
After a disastrous 2012 election, the Republican National Committee concluded in a postelection study the party must adopt a more welcoming and inclusive tone on immigration.
Yet Trump's candidacy is built on his disdain for immigrants who are living in the country illegally, whom he has repeatedly referred to as dangerous criminals who must be deported en masse.
Democrats couldn't be happier. They're collecting reams of negative information about Trump's business background, Trump-related bankruptcy cases, Security and Exchange Commission filings and the many lawsuits to which the litigious Trump has been a party.