Carson on top, Trump falls behind in national poll

WASHINGTON (MEDIA GENERAL/AP) — A new poll released Tuesday shows retired neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson has taken the top spot ahead of Donald Trump for the first time in a national matchup.

A New York Times/CBS News poll has Carson with 26 percent support among 1,289 voters polled nationwide. Mr. Trump, Carson’s closest rival, remained within the margin of error at 22 percent support. The numbers show a new contrast to several months of polls that indicated Trump remained far ahead of any of his rivals. At a campaign event in New Hampshire on Monday, Trump brushed off the latest poll numbers from early voting states as nothing more than a small fluke.

The fourteen remaining GOP Presidential hopefuls will be in Boulder, Colorado, on Wednesday for their third nationally televised debate. The event, hosted by CNBC, will focus on candidates’ plans to grow jobs and the economy. For his part, Carson released a new television ad on Monday in which he attempted to showcase himself as a Washington outsider who literally is “outside the box” of the political establishment.

Wednesday’s debate could be a make-or-break moment for other GOP hopefuls who have failed to gain any traction in recent weeks. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, once considered the eventual nominee, is struggling to maintain momentum after making staffing changes and telling a town hall audience Saturday in South Carolina: “I’ve got a lot of really cool things I could do other than sit around, being miserable, listening to people demonize me and me feeling compelled to demonize them. That is a joke. Elect Trump if you want that.”

Countdown to Iowa Caucus: 97 Days
Countdown to New Hampshire Primary: 104 days
Countdown to 2016 Election: 377 days

For the latest on the race for 2016, follow our national correspondent @markpmeredith on Twitter.

 

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