Conservative activist Ben Carson
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Conservative activist Ben Carson
CNN —  

In his latest estimate of when he’ll make a 2016 decision, Ben Carson said Friday he’ll announce “before May 1” whether he will seek the Republican presidential nomination.

The renowned neurosurgeon and conservative activist said on NewsMaxTV’s “America’s Forum” that he’s now studying up on the issues and preparing for the intellectual rigor of a presidential campaign.

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“I would just say that I am listening extremely carefully. I don’t want to do something that the American people do not want me to do,” he said, also saying he’ll decide “in a few months.”

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Carson rocketed to conservative fame in 2013 after criticizing the president’s policies at a national prayer breakfast. While he’s enjoyed a vocal and loyal following since expressing interest in a presidential campaign, he’s made headlines for controversial comments about issues like same-sex marriage and Obamacare.

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Still, Carson placed third in a recent CNN/ORC International Poll measuring support for potential Republican presidential contenders, falling behind former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

Previously Carson has said “the likelihood is strong” that he’ll seek the nomination.