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U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump rallies supporters at a campaign event in Florida. On Tuesday, the candidate dismissed polls that show him sliding in national polls. He is also losing ground in polls of primary voters in key states like Iowa and New Hampshire. Yet pundits are offering convincing reasons why the candidate may stay in the game. REUTERS/Daron Dean

Donald Trump and Ben Carson are tied in the latest CBS News/NYT Poll. For most presidential candidates, this wouldn’t be a big deal. Just ask John McCain or Mitt Romney, both of whom secured the GOP nomination after others overtook them in the polls, briefly, before quietly bowing out. For Trump, tieing with Dr. Carson could be a terminal diagnosis for his campaign. Trump himself has admitted that he is running on momentum, and consistently cites his place in the polls as a validation of his efforts.

How insecure is Donald Trump about the prospect of losing his spot in the polls? On Tuesday his response to the trusted polling of CBS/NYT was to cite a methodologically inferior poll* from One America News Network.

Trump embraces polls that show him doing well, and dismisses polls that show him doing poorly, even with the same polling institution and methodology. The most explicit example is his recent slump in Iowa, where he took a clear backseat to Carson.

“It’s Trump's attitude toward them that has changed, as a result of the results of the polling moving in a direction he doesn't like,” writes the Washington Post’s Philip Bump, who did a great writeup debunking Trumpeteers for The Fix.

The Poll

In the CBS/NYT poll, Ben Carson appears to lead 26 percent, while Trump ostensibly sits at the number two spot with 22 percent of the national GOP primary voter preference. But the margin of error on that poll is 6 percent. No one can call Trump a loser yet.

“Carson is lower-energy than [Jeb] Bush, I don’t get it,” he exclaimed at a recent rally, according to CNN.

The Man

Trump is a special snowflake, who has rolled his way into a mangles mass of media attention. But if that snowball stops, will it melt? Trump’s relationship with the media has soured: Univision is banned from his events is partially boycotting Fox News. His google searches are down (a bit).

One testament to the end of his media surge: people barely noticed when he said that women like to wear burqas because they don’t want to put on makeup. We’re so desensitized to Trump at this point that what was once called misogynist/racist/offensive can now be summed up in a shrug.

Yet his campaign may slither on, thanks in part to an emerging ground game. Trump has hired staff in key states. Some adoring fans from his rallies are became volunteers and caucus goers, according to CNN, who covered the mogul’s emerging field campaign.

As Bloomberg’s Sahil Kapur points out, there are reasons Why Donald Trump Could Win The Republican Nomination. As part of climbing the polls, he’s also revealed a rift between Republican voters and their party leaders.

Has The Donald’s first-place slot in the polls or his media monopoly taken a hit? Certainly. But is his campaign dead? Let us know what you think, in the comments below.

*Robocalls; didn’t differentiate between Republican likely voters, or primary voters.

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