Pushed to second place, Trump asks Republican rivals to drop out

By Arun Kumar

Washington: Undeterred by new polls that saw neurosurgeon Ben Carson overtaking him, real estate mogul Donald Trump asked some of his low polling rivals for the Republican presidential nomination to drop out.

“There are too many people … If a person’s been campaigning for four or five months and they’re at zero or one or two percent, they should get out,” Trump said at a press conference Tuesday.

Trump declined to call out by name the candidates whom he believes should end their bids, but going by recent polls Louisiana’s Indian-American governor Bobby Jindal would be one of them even as he edged out establishment favourite Jeb Bush in a new poll of Iowa, the first nominating state.

Jindal, who has been relegated to the undercard debate in the Republican race, scored 6 percent support in the survey from Public Policy Polling (PPP), one percentage point ahead of Bush, though within the poll’s 3.9 percent margin of error.

Still, the uptick for Jindal is broadly indicative of just how far Bush has fallen as evidenced by his poor showing in last week’s Republican debate, analysts suggested.

The poll found that Bush has the highest unfavourable rating of any Republican candidate in Iowa, with 30 percent viewing him positively and 43 percent viewing him negatively.

Jindal’s 60 percent favourability rating, meanwhile, is tied for third highest in the state behind Carson and Texas Senator Ted Cruz.

Jindal’s team has pushed networks to use early-state polling to determine debate placement, which could elevate him to the main stage.

Trump and Carson held the top two spots in the PPP poll, with 22 percent and 21 percent support respectively, followed by Cruz at 15 percent and Florida senator Marco Rubio at 10 percent.

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee tied with Jindal for fifth with 6 percent support.

Earlier Tuesday, Trump told ABC Bush languishing in the polls should drop out of the race, saying the former Florida governor “has no chance” and is “wasting his time.”

He also told the news channel Carson doesn’t have the experience or the temperament to be president.

“It’s not his thing. He doesn’t have the temperament for it,” he said. “I think Ben just doesn’t have the experience.”

Trump also blasted Rubio, who’s emerging from the pack as an establishment alternative to Bush. “I’m not a fan. I think he’s overrated,” he said, adding that Russian President Vladimir Putin “would eat him alive.”

A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey this week showed Bush in fifth place at 8 percent — far behind Carson and Trump at the top. Rubio and Cruz were also ahead of Bush at 11 percent and 10 percent, respectively.

Meanwhile, Bush has made several moves to try to reboot his campaign taking on a new campaign slogan — “Jeb Can Fix It” — on the road, to emphasise his accomplishments as Florida governor