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New poll: Donald Trump still leads, but Ben Carson makes strong gains

By Anthony Salvanto, Jennifer De Pinto, Sarah Dutton and Fred Backus

At 27 percent nationally, Donald Trump maintains his frontrunner status among Republican primary voters, but Ben Carson is now close behind him, a new CBS News/New York Times poll finds.

Carson's support has risen significantly since early August, from 6 percent then, to 23 percent now, putting him in second place. John Kasich and Carly Fiorina have also seen their support rise in this poll, although both remain in single digits.

Some candidates have not fared as well, losing support since August. Jeb Bush (six percent) and Scott Walker (two percent) have now dropped into single digits in this poll. Rick Perry, who announced he was withdrawing his candidacy while the poll was in progress, receives just one percent of Republican primary voters' backing.


Demographic Groups

Trump appeals to many different types of Republican primary voters - but Ben Carson is now a strong challenger among these groups of voters as well.

Trump has a slight edge among the most conservative voters, while the race is close among women and Tea Party supporters. Trump holds a larger lead among men and evangelical voters. And while Trump leads Carson among voters who have not graduated from college, 30 percent to 19 percent, among college graduates, Carson has 29 percent to Trump's 21 percent.

This poll was conducted by telephone September 9-13, 2015 among a random sample of 1,261 adults nationwide, including 1,021 registered voters. Data collection was conducted on behalf of CBS News and The New York Times by SSRS of Media, PA. Phone numbers were dialed from samples of both standard land-line and cell phones.

The poll employed a random digit dial methodology. For the landline sample, a respondent was randomly selected from all adults in the household. For the cell sample, interviews were conducted with the person who answered the phone.

Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish using live interviewers.

The data have been weighted to reflect U.S. Census figures on demographic variables.

The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus three percentage points. The error for subgroups may be higher and is available by request. The margin of error includes the effects of standard weighting procedures which enlarge sampling error slightly.

The margin of error for the sample of 376 Republican primary voters is 6 percentage points.

This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

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