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Donald Trump loses edge in bid for Republican nomination

A new poll has emerged putting the billionaire behind candidate Ben Carson.

Presidential hopefuls Ben Carson and Donald Trump
Presidential hopefuls Ben Carson and Donald Trump
Image: AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File

BEN CARSON HAS  edged ahead of Donald Trump nationally in the US battle for the Republican presidential nomination, a new poll showed today, the latest sign of slippage for the brash billionaire.

The results mark the first time Trump has been dislodged from the top of the broad Republican field in months, and reflect continued preference for outsider candidates more than 13 months before the 2016 presidential election.

The New York Times/CBS News survey show Carson, a retired paediatric neurosurgeon who has never held public office, is the presidential pick of 26 percent of respondents, compared with 22 percent for Trump, although the difference lies within the margin of error of six percentage points.

The other candidates trail far behind. Senator Marco Rubio is third with eight percent, while Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor and the son and brother of two presidents, is tied at seven percent with former Hewlett-Packard chief executive Carly Fiorina.

The survey does not herald drastic change, but it does suggest incremental shifts in a turbulent nomination process in which establishment-leaning candidates have struggled to make headway against strong populist currents in their party.

It comes the day before the next Republican primary debate, when a national audience will get another look at the top 10 candidates in the field.

Most Republican voters have yet to make up their mind, according to the poll. Seven in 10 respondents who expressed backing for a candidate said they believed it was too early to say for sure who they would support.

Twenty-eight percent said their minds were made up.

Earlier today Trump retweeted a comment by a supporter saying there was too much emphasis on a single poll.

Trump has a point, said Nate Silver, a renowned statistician who closely follows elections.

“Disproportionate focus today on a poll that, for now, is an outlier by showing him behind Carson nationally,” Silver said on Twitter.

- © AFP, 2015

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