The quote, on Sunday morning’s Meet the Press: “I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that.”
Since Ben Carson said that, he claims people can’t seem to stop donating to his campaign. “The money has been coming in so fast, it’s hard to even keep up with it.”
It appears Carson, perhaps accidentally, tapped into Donald Trump’s xenophobic base. This influx of cash is probably representative of more general support, which I expect will eventually be reflected in polls. Moreover, it stands to reason that if he does indeed rise in the polls, he would be taking from Trump’s numbers. Trump’s supporters are notoriously skeptical not only of Islam, but also of President Obama’s religion; two-thirds of Trump supporters think Obama is Muslim; 12 percent think he’s a Christian.
In other words, Ben Carson’s new-found support, thanks to these comments, didn’t come from people who were supporting some of the mainstream candidates. Nor did he win over undecideds, who would have already been supporting Trump if this was the type of comment they were looking for. If he is indeed seeing a lot of new cash and support, it’s almost certainly coming from Trump’s base, whose supporters might be tiring of him. By no means is Trump finished yet, but, thanks to Carson’s siphoning, he might be down another tick.
Any polls released in the next two days probably won’t reflect such movement, but watch out for polls early next week to do so.