The latest U.S. political survey shows two political novices, billionaire real estate mogul Donald Trump and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, in a deadheat for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.
Quinnipiac University says its nationwide polling in recent days shows the flamboyant Trump with 24 percent support among Republican voters, a point ahead of the more reserved Carson.
The survey showed Florida Senator Marco Rubio at 14 percent and Texas Senator Ted Cruz at 13 percent, with both coming off strong performances in the most recent Republican presidential debate.
The poll also showed only four percent support for a one-time party establishment favorite, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, the son and brother of two former U.S. presidents who has struggled to recover from weak debate performances.
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In the Democratic presidential nominating race, Quinnipiac said former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has opened a wide lead over Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, 53 percent to 35 percent.
The pollster said in a hypothetical presidential contest next November, Carson, the first surgeon to separate twins conjoined at the head, would defeat Clinton, who was the country's top diplomat from 2009 to 2013. The survey showed Clinton ahead of Trump in a head-to-head matchup, but behind both Rubio and Cruz.
The first voting to pick the two parties' presidential nominees starts in February with contests in the central state of Iowa and the northeastern state of New Hampshire. President Barack Obama is constitutionally barred from seeking a third term.