Horse Race

In Wake of Terror Attacks, Trump Surges While Carson Stalls

In a slew of new polls, Trump is on top.

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With the first votes of the 2016 presidential race a little more than two months away, Donald Trump is showing renewed support among likely Republican voters after the Islamic State attacks in Paris gave him a chance to showcase a "tough on terror '' message. 

Trump has reclaimed the outright lead in Iowa, according to a CBS/YouGov poll released Sunday, with 30 percent support among registered Republican voters in the state. Ben Carson, who was tied with Trump in the same poll a month ago, has fallen to third place with 19 percent support, behind Trump and Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who earned 21 percent support. 

The news is even better for Trump in New Hampshire, where CBS/YouGov found that the billionaire real estate developer and reality television star has an even more commanding lead. Trump registers 32 percent support, while second place in the poll goes to Florida Senator Marco Rubio with 13 percent.

Taken Nov. 15-19, the battleground-state polls show that the Paris terrorist attacks of Nov. 13 have not hurt Trump's candidacy. Arguably, a string of statements regarding the measures the U.S. should take combat Islamic State terrorists and track potential threats inside the country has helped Trump's standing among Republican primary voters. 

Carson, a retired neurosurgeon who has faced criticism over a perceived lack of experience on foreign policy, including from one of his own advisers, is not faring as well. 

Released Saturday, a Suffolk University/Boston Globe poll of New Hampshire voters also found Trump to be leading Carson among Republicans by double digits, 22 percent to 10 percent. That trend is also playing out nationally. In a Washington Post/ABC News national poll also out Sunday, Trump maintained a 10-point lead over Carson as the top choice of 32 percent of those polled. Carson stayed in second place with 22 percent. Another national poll, from Fox News, also found Trump to be in the lead with 28 percent, 10 points ahead of Carson. 

An average of polls that have been released since the day before the Nov. 13 terror attacks in Paris shows that Trump has gained 3 percentage points while Carson has fallen almost 5 points, the Washington Post reported. 

While many Republican insiders have assumed that support for Trump and Carson, political novices, would fall away before the first votes were cast, that prospect is far from certain, at least for the resilient front-runner. 

“People are finally taking the threat that Trump will destroy the Republican Party and lose the general election to Hillary Clinton seriously,” Republican media consultant Rick Wilson, who now works for a super-PAC backing Rubio, told the Wall Street Journal.  

With more super-PACs starting to run advertisements aimed at dislodging Trump, the billionaire said Sunday that he is still mulling the option of breaking with the party to mount in independent bid—despite saying in September he would not run as a third party. 

"I will see what happens," Trump said on ABC's This Week. "I have to be treated fairly."   

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