Donald Trump Humbled Over Iowa Polls, Pleads With State To Vote For Him, Says He Is A ‘Great Christian’

It seems as though Donald Trump’s falling poll numbers in the early voting state of Iowa — and the rise of support for Dr. Ben Carson — has left the billionaire candidate befuddled and, perhaps, humbled.

Donald Trump has been leading the wide field in the Republican race for the presidential nomination for months. Many political analyzers believe that the so-called Trump phenomenon lies with the widening desire for a political outsider rather than an establishment candidate. But now Trump faces the increasing possibility that neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson will actually corner the outsider vote nationwide if he manages to win the Iowa caucus, according to former GOP campaign adviser Kevin Hassett.

Dr. Ben Carson leads in Iowa polls
Dr. Ben Carson [Photo by Scott Olson / Getty Images]

“I think a lot of people are now looking at Iowa, and thinking that Carson’s going to win Iowa. Then all of a sudden the nonestablishment people coalesce around Ben,” Hassett told CNBC’s Squawk Box on Wednesday. “I think that’s the Number 1 threat — near-term threat — to Trump.”

In fact, Carson has recently pulled ahead of Trump in several polls — and his lead is timely, considering the third Republican debate, sponsored by CNBC, is on Wednesday.

But Donald Trump, of course, is not taking this quietly.

On Tuesday, Trump held a rally in Sioux City, Iowa, the first rally he has held in that state in three months since he was confidently holding the lead. And he was not afraid to let the folks of Iowa know how perplexing he finds the newest polls, comparing them to states where he still holds a large lead over Carson, seemingly rebuking Iowa for what he sees as their strange choice.

“I love New Hampshire,” Trump told the Iowa crowd. “We’ve got great numbers, 38 to 12.”

In addition to New Hampshire, Trump explained, he is still leading by a “massive amount” in South Carolina. Iowa, however, is just not fulfilling Trump’s expectations.

“But we fell a little behind in Iowa, and some people are saying, ‘How can it be?'” Trump asked, taking an injured note.

Political analysts point to Trump’s fall and Carson’s rise in Iowa as the result of a large evangelical presence — and despite Trump’s insistence that he is a devout Christian, many simply don’t believe him — or are more swayed by Dr. Carson’s beliefs.

Trump claimed that his own political analysts told him to simply skip Iowa because of the “outsized” role evangelical voters play in the GOP caucuses, but, Trump said, he told them no. And in return, he wants Iowa to vote for him, and openly pleaded for Iowa to get his poll numbers up.

“I promise you I will do such a good job. First of all, I am a great Christian. And I do well with the evangelicals, but the evangelicals let me down a little bit this month. I don’t know what I did.”

And just in case anyone should doubt his credentials as a “great Christian,” Trump’s campaign handed out a picture of a young Donald at his Confirmation ceremony — in 1959.

Trump still doesn’t want to admit that Dr. Carson could possibly be a real contender or a threat to himself as the GOP frontrunner, despite the retired neurosurgeon’s recent surge in polls. After all, Trump rationalized, his poll numbers are still pretty good, and he continues to post better showings in all other states but Iowa.

“I mean, I am second — it’s not, like, terrible,” Trump said. “But I don’t like being second. Second is terrible to me.”

Dr. Ben Carson pulls ahead of Donald Trump in Iowa.
Wednesday night’s Republican debate may focus on front runners Carson and Trump. [Photo by Justin Sullivan / Getty Images]

The recent poll findings that put Dr. Carson ahead of Trump should shape an interesting debate. Trump has commanded each showing so far and, to the frustration of other Republican candidates, has remained not just the frontrunner, but the center of attention. Wednesday night’s debate may be one of two main points — all candidates but Trump may seek to pin Trump down on specific policy ideas, rather than letting him “win” the debate through the force of his personality, and Trump himself may be focusing on Carson alone.

[Photo by Scott Olson / Getty Images]

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