ORC International conducted a poll for CNN asking about the 2016 Republican race. The headline number says Donald Trump 32, Ben Carson 19, and the rest in single digits. Page 29 of the PDF though says that among Republicans, it’s a much tighter race than that.


Obviously it matters to look at what Republicans think, since Republicans are more likely to participate in a Republican primary. And in fact, in some states you can’t even vote in the primary unless you are a registered Republican. “Leaners” don’t even get a ballot sometimes.

Pale pastels love Trump. Trump leads Carson 37-14 (Trump +23, MoE 7.5) among independents who shrug and lean Republican, but can’t find it in them to join a party. But among those with full Republican identification, the race is quite different. Trump leads 28-22-10 (MoE 5.5). Yup, Jeb Bush cracks double digits among Republicans, and Trump’s lead reduces to 6, bringing his race with Carson within the combined margin of error.

I’ve written in the past that the polling this early doesn’t mean what you think it means, which is why most pollsters shy away from attempting to model who the likely voters are at this point in the cycle. But not all polls are created equal, and not all samples are equally representative of people who will choose the 2016 Republican nominee.

So Donald Trump’s ahead, but Ben Carson’s surge is with the right people, if he wants to win the nomination. Carson is surging with Republicans.

Photo by John Pemble, iprimages on flickr