Washington: Retired US neurosurgeon Ben Carson has surged ahead of billionaire businessman Donald Trump to become the leader among Republican presidential candidates, according to a latest national poll released on Tuesday.
Carson gained 29 percent of support among Republican Party primary voters, six percentage points ahead of former leader Trump, found the Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll.
This marked the first time since June that the WSJ/NBC News poll has found a Republican other than Trump to be leading the GOP field.
Florida Senator Marco Rubio and Texas Senator Ted Cruz ranked third and fourth with 11 percent and 10 percent of support, respectively.
Former Florida governor Jeb Bush, gained 8 percent of support among Republican primary voters. No other Republican candidate garnered more than 3 percent of support.
Support for Carson has tripled since July, and he is the first Republican to top 50 percent when voters’ first and second choices are combined.
His support has grown steadily during the primary campaign, suggesting that it may prove more durable than for those earlier candidates, the Journal reported.
While Trump ceded the top spot for the first time since June, support for him remains relatively stable, down two percentage points from the same poll two weeks before the latest survey, it added.
The survey was conducted before and after the third Republican presidential debate last Wednesday night. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percentage points among the 400 Republican primary voters.
In fact, this is the second national poll in the past week that showed Carson has knocked Trump out of the No.1 spot in the race for the Republican nomination.
A CBS/New York Times poll released last Tuesday showed for the first time that Carson had sped ahead of Trump.