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Ben Carson: Media ignore me, but Iowans don't

GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson told CNBC ahead of Monday evening's Iowa caucuses that he believes he's picked up support in the last few days. "We are climbing," he asserted.

The last major poll before the Iowa nominating contest showed Republican front-runner Donald Trump with 28 percent support of likely state GOP caucus-goers, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas with 23 percent, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida with 15 percent, and Carson with 10 percent. The Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 points, so Trump's lead over Cruz is statistically insignificant.

In reaction to that poll, Carson said on CNBC's "Squawk Box" Monday morning: "There's a tendency for a lot of the media to ignore me. But the people are not ignoring me."

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Many Republican strategists expect a higher turnout Monday evening in Iowa than in the past two election cycles. Higher turnout is widely expected to favor Trump.

One of the factors that could affect turnout was a blizzard heading for the state. The forecast Monday morning appeared fine for getting people to the caucuses and even home afterward. But there were questions about whether the expected storm would deter people about heading out.

If he were elected president, Carson said reforming high U.S. corporate tax rates and declaring war on Islamic State terrorists would be among his top priorities.

He added: "Here's the thing people are not paying attention to: This generation is the first one in the history of America not expected to do better than their parents. And that's the beginning of a trend."

"People say it's the new normal. But there's nothing normal about it, and we shouldn't expect it," he continued, blaming the headwinds on too much costly government regulation. "It's basically a tax, a very regressive tax because everyone has to pay it at the same level."

Beyond Iowa, Carson said: "We have stuff on the ground all over the country. We have very much prepared." The nation's first primary is in New Hampshire on Feb. 9.

Carson had been polling strongly in Iowa and New Hampshire in the fall, according to RealClear Politics polling aggregator, overtaking Trump for a short time in Iowa and running in second in New Hampshire. By early November, however, Carson's numbers started to plummet in Iowa as Cruz surged.

Over roughly the same period, Carson's numbers tanked in New Hampshire as well, as Ohio Gov. John Kasich motored into a distant second to Trump. Cruz and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush have also been steadily gaining in New Hampshire.

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— AP contributed to this report.