Washington (CNN)Donald Trump and Ben Carson are settling into their respective first- and second-place spots at the top of the GOP field of presidential candidates while Hillary Clinton continues to nearly double her closest rival Sen. Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary, according to a new national poll.
Poll: Donald Trump, Ben Carson hold onto top 2 spots
While Trump is maintaining his lead over the 15 other candidates for the GOP nomination with 26% of the support, Carson made his strongest showing yet in the Farleigh Dickinson University poll released Thursday with 22%. They are the only two Republican candidates to clear double digits of support.
The poll, which was conducted October 1 through October 5, came before Carson made a slew of controversial comments this week when he suggested the victims of the Oregon college shooting should have done more than "stand there and let" the gunman shoot them and said looser gun laws could have "greatly diminished" Hitler's slaughter of millions.
Carson had previously scored as much as 20% of support in an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released late last month.
Carly Fiorina, meanwhile, who surged to third place after a strong performance in the second GOP debate, has slumped to 7% from the 13% high she earned in a poll last week.
Sen. Marco Rubio, meanwhile, took third place in the Farleigh Dickinson poll with 8% while former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush tied Fiorina with 7%. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee follows that pack closely with 6%.
More than half of Republican voters surveyed in the poll are supporting candidates who have never held elected office, combining Trump, Carson and Fiorina's numbers.
On the Democratic side, Sanders, the senator from Vermont whose insurgent campaign has been fueled by grassroots momentum, continues to trail Clinton by more than 20 percentage points.
Sanders notched 23% of support to the former secretary of state's 45% lead, less than a week before the pair will square off for the first Democratic presidential debate.
Vice President Joe Biden, who has yet to decide whether he will jump into the race for president, is polling at 17% according to the poll -- a figure the remaining Democratic contenders don't come close to notching.
Former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley and former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb each notched just 1%. But the pair, and former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee who registered less than 1% in the Farleigh Dickinson poll, will get a chance to boost their numbers when they appear in primetime on national TV for the first Democratic debate Tuesday on CNN.
The poll surveyed 305 Republicans for a margin of error of 5.6 percentage points and 339 Democrats with a 5.3 percentage points margin of error.