Ben Carson is giving Donald Trump a run for his money, according to the latest Fox News national poll.
Support for Carson in the race for the Republican nomination has nearly doubled in the last two months, he is seen by voters as being more ethical than others, and he has the largest number of GOP primary voters who say they would definitely vote for him.
That makes him well-positioned to overtake Trump.
In addition, the poll tested an array of general election match-ups and Carson is the only Republican to get 50 percent support. In a Carson vs. Hillary Clinton contest, he has the advantage by a 50-39 percent margin.
Running down the GOP race: Trump remains in the top spot with 24 percent, closely followed by Carson at 23 percent. Ted Cruz is third with 10 percent. Those are the only three who receive double-digit backing from Republican primary voters.
Next, it’s Marco Rubio (9 percent), Jeb Bush (8 percent), Carly Fiorina and Mike Huckabee (5 percent each), and Rand Paul (3 percent). The remaining candidates garner one percent or less.
Carson has climbed 11 points since mid-August when he registered at 12 percent, while support for Trump has mostly held steady.
Support for fellow outsider Fiorina is only about half what it was after the September debate, in which she was widely hailed the winner.
Voters are also asked to name their second-choice candidate. When first and second-choice preferences are considered together, Carson (41 percent) actually has the edge over Trump (37 percent).
The new poll finds the largest number of voters, 42 percent, thinks Carson is more ethical than the typical politician. President Barack Obama (35 percent) and Vice President Joe Biden (34 percent) come closest to matching Carson’s appeal on this measure.
Far fewer voters consider Clinton (21 percent), Cruz (22 percent), Trump (22 percent) and Bush (24 percent) more ethical than the average politician.
Half of voters say Clinton (50 percent) is less ethical than the typical official, and nearly half say the same of Trump (49 percent). Thirty-nine percent say Obama is less ethical than others.
Nearly 7 in 10 Republican primary voters (68 percent) say Carson is more ethical than other politicians. The other GOP candidates fail to even come close to that. The next closest is Rubio; 46 percent of GOP primary voters feel that way about him.
Among Democratic primary voters, 69 percent say Obama is more ethical than the typical pol, while 60 percent say the same of Biden and 42 percent of Clinton.
Never say never. Eighteen percent of GOP primary voters would “never” vote for Trump. That’s down significantly from the 33 percent who said so in August and the 59 percent in June.
For now, Carson gets the lowest never-vote-for number of the candidates tested -- six percent. Rubio also does well with a low nine percent “never” rating. Bush does the worst at 22 percent.
On the positive side, 46 percent of GOP primary voters would “definitely” vote for Carson. That’s more than double the number that felt that way in August (20 percent). Thirty-seven percent would “definitely” vote for Trump, 34 percent for Rubio, 31 percent for Cruz, 30 percent for Fiorina and 26 percent for Bush.
The Fox News poll is based on landline and cell phone interviews with 1,004 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide and was conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R) from October 10-12, 2015. The poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points for all registered voters, and five points for both Democratic and Republican primary voters.