In the Republican primary race, the newest NBC News/SurveyMonkey online poll shows Donald Trump has the frontrunner spot to himself, with 28% support among Republican and independent voters who lean Republican. Support for Ben Carson, who was tied with Trump in last month's online poll, has fallen off by 8 points and the former neurosurgeon is now tied with Ted Cruz at 18%. Trailing not too far behind is Marco Rubio, at 11%. The next tier of candidates has a lot of catching up to do, with Jeb Bush at 4% and Chris Christie and Carly Fiorina each with 3%.
During the volatile primary season, the attention that is gained from being the lead candidate in the polls can be a mixed blessing. The media tends to shift its focus to those candidates leading the race - and that spotlight can seem especially harsh to those who are newer to the political scene. At the same time, rival candidates are quick to target any apparent or imagined flaw of those in the lead. This is what happened to Ben Carson during the last two weeks, as he came under scrutiny for biographical details in his memoir and criticism for his lack of foreign policy expertise.