The latest Quinnipiac poll, arriving one year before Election Day, shows all of the top Republican candidates except Donald Trump running ahead of Hillary Clinton.
Dr. Ben Carson, who is effectively tied with Trump as the GOP front-runner in the poll, wallops Clinton by 10 points, 50 percent to 40 percent. Sen. Marco Rubio beats Clinton 46 percent to 41 percent, as does GOv. Chris Christie. Sen. Ted Cruz beats her 46 percent to 43 percent.
But Clinton has a 3-point edge over Donald Trump in the poll, 46 percent to 43 percent.
Interestingly, the second tier among primary voters is also a virtual tie between Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. No other Republican candidate was able to score over 3 percent, and quite a few of them fell below 1 percent to become asterisks.
Qunnipiac finds the Republican contenders lined up as follows:
Trump at 24 percent and Carson at 23 percent.
Rubio at 14 percent and Cruz at 13 percent
Jeb Bush 4 percent, Chris Christie 3 percent, Carly Fiorina 3 percent, John Kasich 3 percent, Rand Paul 2 percent, Mike Huckabee 1 percent and Rick Santorum 1 percent.
No other candidate scored high enough to be counted at 1 percent in the poll.
Tim Mallow, Qunnipiac’s assistant director described Carson’s lead over Clinton as a contest of character. “Clinton gets crushed on character issues, pounded by Carson and closely challenged by Sen. Ted Cruz, Donald Trump and Sen. Marco Rubio,” he said.
Also noteworthy is that Carson is effectively tied with Clinton among women. Women were split 45 percent to 44 percent for Carson versus Clinton.
As with other recent polls, Quinnipiac found Clinton’s approval rating underwater with registered voters, 42 percent favorable to 52 percent unfavorable. She scores especially badly on the “honesty” metric, 36 percent to 60 percent.
Conversely, Carson has a tremendous favorable rating, 49 percent to 25 percent, with a sizable 25 percent saying they haven’t heard enough about him to form an opinion. His plus-24 approval spread is the best in the field, followed by plus-14 for Rubio and plus-10 for Fiorina.
Carson’s biggest weakness, unsurprisingly, comes from voters who worry that he “does not have the right kind of experience to be President.”
That seems like a much easier problem for his campaign to address than Clinton’s baked-in honesty deficit, especially since honesty and trustworthiness were rated as the most important attributes overall. Carson also scores best among all candidates in the “cares about my needs and problems” category, which is scored as the second most important attribute this time around, and was seen as perhaps the most important in the 2012 election. Clinton is underwater on this metric as well, at 44 percent to 53 percent.
The lowest approval rating among candidates in the Q-poll was held by Jeb Bush, whose 25 percent to 58 percent score gave him a Titanic-like minus-33 rating.