Poll: Trump and Carson lead nationally, Bush fades

Donald Trump and Ben Carson have healthy leads over the rest of the Republican presidential field, while Marco Rubio is on the rise and Jeb Bush is fading, according to a new national survey.

A Quinnipiac University poll released on Wednesday found Trump taking 24 percent support, followed by Carson at 23 percent.

The two have been trading first and second place in a spate of recent national polls, but Carson has been on the rise. The Quinnipiac University survey from September found Trump leading Carson 25 percent to 17 percent.

Carson has the best favorability rating in the field, with 49 percent saying they have a positive view of him, against 25 percent who view him negatively. Still, 50 percent say Carson, a retired neurosurgeon, does not have the right experience to be president.

Trump, meanwhile, has a worse favorability rating than anyone running for president except Jeb Bush, with 37 percent having a positive view of him against 56 percent who view him negatively. A quarter of voters said they wouldn’t even consider voting for Trump, the highest of all the candidates.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) is in third place at 14 percent, a 5-point jump over the previous Quinnipiac survey, and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who jumped 6 points and takes 13 percent support, is in fourth place.

Rubio has the second highest favorability rating in the field, with 39 percent viewing him positively and 25 percent having a negative view of him.

Bush takes only 4 percent support, down from 10 percent in September. He has the worst net favorability rating of any candidate, with 25 percent saying they view him positively against 58 percent who say they view him negatively.

Bush’s team has been girding for the bad polling data in the wake of a poor debate performance in Boulder, Colorado last week. On Monday, Bush’s spokesman tweeted:

FYI political press corps. Jeb’s going to have a few weeks of bad polls. Comebacks take time, we recognize and are prepared for that.

Rounding out the field are Chris Christie, Carly Fiorina and John Kasich at 3 percent each. Rand Paul takes 2 percent, while Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum take 1 percent a piece.

Christie, Kasich and Paul are on the threshold of potentially falling off the main stage for the next GOP debate in Milwaukee next week. Fox Business Network is requiring candidates average 2.5 percent support in four recent polls, but the network has not said what polls it will use to determine who qualifies.

Still, there is room for all of the candidates to grow. Sixty-three percent of those polled said they haven’t made a final decision on who they’ll vote for.

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton leads big over Bernie Sanders, 53 percent to 35 percent.

That’s been the case in most national polls, although Sanders is running neck-and-neck with Clinton in the first-in-the-nation primary state of New Hampshire.

Hypothetical head-to-head match-ups in the poll will give Democrats reason to worry.

Carson has opened up a 50 percent to 40 percent lead over Clinton. Surprisingly, Carson has a narrow lead over Clinton among women, while Clinton leads Carson among black men by 20 points.

Clinton is dragged down in the poll by a favorability rating that is 10 points underwater (42 percent favoriable to 52 percent unfavorable), while 60 percent say she’s not trustworthy.

Clinton also trails Rubio and Christie in head-to-head match-ups by 5 points, and she trails Cruz by 3 points. Clinton leads Trump 46 percent to 43 percent.

Sanders fares about the same as Clinton in all of those match-ups against Republicans

The Quinnipiac University survey of 1,144 registered voters was conducted between Oct. 29 and Nov. 2 and has a 2.9 percentage point margin of error.

Jonathan Easley