The GOP's three political outsiders are leading the pack in New Hampshire, with Donald Trump in first place, Dr. Ben Carson right behind him, and followed by Carly Fiorina, according to a new poll released Wednesday by WBUR, Boston's NPR news station
In the telephone survey of 404 likely primary voters, the billionaire developer grabbed 22 percent of the vote, with the retired pediatric neurosurgeon taking 18 percent.
But with the margin of error having a 4.9 percent spread, that puts Trump and Carson in a statistical dead heat. Fiorina, the former Hewlett Packard CEO, scored 11 percent of the vote.
Tying in fourth place were former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.
"This is a much closer race than we've seen over the last few months in pretty much any state," said Steve Koczela, of The MassINC Polling Group, which conducted the WBUR survey.
"But it's similar to a couple polls that have come out just in the last few days, and a couple in Iowa from the last few weeks that have shown Ben Carson doing much better against Donald Trump than anybody has done in quite a while."
Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas garnered 5 percent, while Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky eked out 4 percent.
The new poll, released just hours before the second GOP presidential debate is aired on CNN, is a jarring letdown for the rest of the pack.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida scored just 2 percent, with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a onetime frontrunner, and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee taking just 1 percent apiece.
Way out in the bleachers were Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina with 0.9 percent, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal with 0.4 percent, former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania with 0.3 and former New York Gov. George Pataki with 0.2 percent.
And Jim Gilmore, the former governor of Virginia, received zero percent.
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