Donald Trump still dominating as Ben Carson fades in GOP race, poll shows

U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to supporters at an event at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, November 24, 2015.

REUTERS/Randall Hill

Bombastic businessman Donald Trump has once again surged ahead of his opponents for the Republican presidential nomination, according to a new national Quinnipiac poll.

Trump wins the support of 27 percent of Republican voters in this poll, while Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida comes in second place with 17 percent. Neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who was once in the lead in some polls, now earns 16 percent, as does Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush garners 5 percent support, while no other GOP candidate tops 3 percent. Eight percent of Republican voters surveyed said they are undecided.

In a national Quinnipiac poll released a month ago, Trump and Carson were in a virtual tie.

"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," Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, said in a statement. "The GOP, 11 months from the election, has to be thinking, 'This could be the guy.'"

While Trump has a commanding lead, he remains controversial. As many as 26 percent of Republican voters in the survey say they would "definitely not support" Trump. Bush also faces resistance, with 21 percent saying they would definitely not support the former governor.

On the Democratic side, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has widened her lead over Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, earning 60 percent support to Sanders' 30 percent. Former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley earns 2 percent support, while 6 percent of Democratic voters remain undecided.

The poll shows that voters overall prefer Clinton to the Republican nominees: In a head to head matchup with Trump, voters prefer Clinton, 47 percent to 41 percent. Clinton just barely bests Rubio, 45 percent to 44 percent, while she tops Cruz 47 percent to 42 percent. Against Carson, Clinton wins, 46 percent to 43 percent.

The poll, conducted from Nov. 23-30, has a 3.8 percent margin of error for Republicans and a 2.6 percent margin of error for all voters nationwide. The margin of error is 4.1 percent for Democrats.