Carson tumbles, Rubio rises and Trump still on top in new national GOP poll

A new poll released Wednesday shows Dr. Ben Carson falling to third place in the race for the Republican 2016 nomination, while Florida Senator Marco Rubio surges into second – but still a significant distance behind frontrunner Donald Trump, who holds a comfortable lead.

The Quinnipiac University National Poll shows Trump leading with 27 percent of Republican voters, while Rubio moves into second place with 17 percent. Carson, who was in a virtual tie with Trump in a Quinnipiac poll taken last month, finds his support dropping to 16 percent, now tied with Texas Senator Ted Cruz.

In October, Carson polled at 23 percent, just shy of Trump’s 24 percent. In a Quinnipiac poll taken at the end of September, Carson polled at 17 percent – putting him in second place at that time.

Meanwhile Rubio's numbers show a steady increase from the 9 percent he received in September, and 14 percent he received last month.

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush still finds his support in single digits, polling at just 5 percent, while no other candidate tops 3 percent.

“It doesn’t seem to matter what he says or who he offends, whether the facts are contested or the ‘political correctness’ is challenged, Donald Trump seems to be wearing Kevlar,” said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.

In the race for the Democratic nomination, frontrunner Hillary Clinton widened her lead over Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. The poll finds Clinton beats Sanders 60-30 percent, a significant boost over her 53-35 lead in the November poll.

In good news for the Democrats, the poll finds that in a general election matchup, Clinton beats Trump 47-41 percent, ties with Rubio, beats Carson 46-43 percent, and tops Cruz 47-42 percent.