Carson beats Trump in Republican presidential poll
Retired neurosurgeon places first ahead of billionaire businessman in national survey
Republican presidential hopefuls Ben Carson and Donald Trump during a party debate. Photograph: Frederic J brown/AFP/Getty Images
Mr Carson, a retired neurosurgeon, received 26 per cent of the support in the New York Times/CBS News poll released on Tuesday morning.
Mr Trump placed second, with the support of 22 per cent of those surveyed, trailing by less than the 6 percentage-point margin of error.
The poll of 575 Republican primary voters was conducted between October 21st and 25th.
The Republican candidates will meet on the debate stage on Wednesday night, providing a third opportunity for them to differentiate themselves.
The national poll comes after three conducted in Iowa, the first state to vote in the primary process, showed Mr Trump trailing Mr Carson for the first time.
For months, Mr Trump had appeared impermeable to attacks from his Republican rivals in the race for the party’s nomination for the 2016 presidential election.
Despite criticism, attacks and his own gaffes, the New York real estate mogul held a tight grip on the first-place position in dozens of polls.
However, there was one sign of encouragement for Mr Trump in the poll.
Of those supporting him, 55 per cent said they had firmly made up their minds.
Mr Carson’s supporters were less certain, with 80 per cent saying it was too early to say whether they would ultimately vote for him.
Mr Carson and Mr Trump held sizeable leads over the rest of the Republican candidates in the poll.
In a distant third place, Florida senator Marco Rubio received 8 per cent of the support of those surveyed.