Carson holds big lead on GOP field in North Carolina

Dr. Ben Carson, GOP candidate for president.

ELON, N.C. (WNCN) – Dr. Ben Carson commands a double-digit lead over his nearest competitor in North Carolina’s Republican presidential primary race, according an  Elon University Poll released on Thursday.

He also leads former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton in a hypothetical matchup in next fall’s general election.

When Carson faces Clinton, he wins 48-44 percent, though his lead over Clinton has shrunk since September when Carson led by 11 points, Elon University said in a news release. His support remains strong among self-described Independents, who prefer the Republican candidate by a 57-32 percent margin.

Here is how Republicans said they would vote, according to the poll:

  • Ben Carson: 31 percent
  • Donald Trump: 19 percent
  • Sen. Marco Rubio: 10 percent
  • Sen. Ted Cruz: 10 percent
  • Jeb Bush: 5 percent
  • Carly Fiorina: 3 percent
  • Mike Huckabee: 3 percent
  • Rand Paul: 2 percent
  • Chris Christie: 2 percent
    Other: 2 percent
  • John Kasich: 1 percent

Clinton dominates the Democratic field, leading 57 percent to 24 percent over Sen. Bernie Sanders.

The Elon University Poll’s live-caller, dual frame (landline and cell phone) survey of 1,234 residents – of which 1,040 said they were registered to vote – was conducted Oct. 29-Nov. 2. The survey had a margin of error of 3.04 percentage points for registered voters; 4.54 percentage points among Republican and Republican-leaning voters; and 4.32 percentage points among Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters.

“It appears that a strong performance in the last GOP debate has pushed Ben Carson to the front of the crowded GOP pack of presidential candidates, at least among Republicans in North Carolina,” said Assistant Professor Kenneth Fernandez, director of the Elon University Poll. “Nearly a third of registered Republican voters here said they plan on voting for Carson, more than 10 points ahead of Donald Trump, his closest primary competitor.”

Twelve percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning voters said they were undecided on which candidate they will support.

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