Donald Trump might be leading in the polls, but brain surgeon and Washington outsider Ben Carson is steadily closing in on the Trumpmentum.
As Trump's bombastic comments on border walls and corporate taxes have dominated the 2016 cycle, Carson appears to be benefiting from living in Trump's shadow. While Trump makes far-out policy proposals that are meticulously fact-checked by the press, Carson is slowly gaining ground without all the hype.
Since his offbeat closing statement at the August GOP debate that he was the only one on stage to "take out half of a brain," Carson has continued to strike a chord with voters who are anxious to pass the presidential torch to someone outside the Beltway.
A small Monmouth University poll Monday showed Carson tied with Trump among likely Iowa caucusgoers, and his favorability has soared to 81 percent compared to Trump, who sits at 52 percent. A Bloomberg Politics/Des Moines Register poll showed a similar trend over the weekend, with Carson trailing Trump by just 5 points. It's a substantial rise for the neurologist, who was in third place in Iowa just weeks before the first Republican debate.
Carson embodies the same anti-Washington message Trump delivers, but without the flash. While Trump has long been a household name, Carson's campaign says voters are just beginning to acquaint themselves with the candidate, and they appreciate that he isn't a known quantity.