Poll: Trump ahead of Carson; Clinton still front-runner

Updated 10:48 AM EDT, Mon October 12, 2015
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Story highlights

Donald Trump leads a national GOP poll at 27% to Ben Carson's 21%

Hillary Clinton is the Democratic front-runner at 46% to Bernie Sanders' 27% and Joe Biden's 16%

(CNN) —  

Donald Trump remains at the front of the Republican presidential field, with Ben Carson close behind, a new CBS News poll of the national GOP electorate shows.

2016 election candidates

Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, remains 19 percentage points ahead of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in the Democratic race.

Trump is backed by 27% of likely Republican primary voters, while Carson has 21% support, the survey, released Sunday, found. They’re the only candidates in double digits.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is in third place at 9%, followed by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio at 8% and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Carly Fiorina at 6% each.

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul has 4% support, while New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is at 3% and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Ohio Gov. John Kasich are at 2% each. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum is at 1%, and other candidates fail to register at least 0.5% support.

The poll could bolster Trump’s argument that he is electable. It shows that while just 29% of Republican voters say they’d support Trump enthusiastically, the vast majority say they’d vote for him in a general election – with just 19% saying they wouldn’t back him.

It also found that most Republicans see business and private sector experience as preferable for their next presidential nominee, with 55% saying that’s the background they’d like their candidate to have compared to 10% preferring work in politics and government.

Carson’s favorability rating remains the best of all Republicans, with 62% of GOP voters viewing him favorably compared to just 7% unfavorably. Similarly positive splits are owned by Rubio (50%/12%) and Fiorina (45%/13%). Trump’s ratings are 53% to 29%.

The poll’s worst news belonged to Bush, who is underwater with the Republican electorate, with 32% viewing him favorably compared to 38% unfavorably.

In the Democratic race, Clinton leads with 46% support compared to Sanders’$2 27% backing. Vice President Joe Biden, who hasn’t yet announced whether he’ll enter the race, has 16% backing, and former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb gets 2% support.

But Sanders’ self-described democratic socialist policies could hurt his electability in the eyes of his party’s voters. Democrats said they see Clinton as having the best shot at winning in November – with 59% saying she’s the party’s most likely winner against a Republican, compared to 18% for Biden and 15% for Sanders.

All three candidates are viewed overwhelmingly favorably by the party, with Biden faring the best (71% favorable ratings to 9% unfavorable), followed by Clinton (69%/19%) and Sanders (50%/13%).

Both Clinton and Trump face the same challenge demonstrating to voters their trustworthiness. Clinton is viewed as honest and trustworthy by 35%, compared to 61% who say she’s not. And Trump is viewed as honest and trustworthy by 33%, compared to 60% who say he’s not.

The poll also offered some insight into the challenges that led House Speaker John Boehner to announce his resignation.

Just 23% of Americans – and 23% of Republicans – approve of the job Boehner is doing. And at 66%, conservative Republicans are the most likely to disapprove of his performance.

The survey of 1,251 Americans was conducted October 4-8.