- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 3, 2015

Retired neurosurgeon and GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson is tied in a head-to-head matchup with Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton and fares better against the former secretary of state than do other Republican presidential candidates, according to a survey released Thursday.

Mr. Carson and Mrs. Clinton were tied at 44 percent apiece, according to the survey from the Democratic-leaning firm Public Policy Polling, and Mr. Carson had an 8-point, 43 percent to 35 percent advantage over Mrs. Clinton among independents.

He was also the only declared candidate, Democrat or Republican, with a higher favorable rating than an unfavorable one. Forty-one percent of voters overall said they have a favorable opinion of him, compared to 30 percent who said they have an unfavorable one.

Mrs. Clinton had a 55 percent unfavorable/36 percent favorable split — similar to the 53 percent unfavorable/35 percent favorable split for real estate mogul and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Mrs. Clinton had 2-point leads over Mr. Trump and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, at 46 percent to 44 percent and 45 percent to 43 percent, respectively.

“It used to look like nominating Donald Trump would be an unmitigated disaster for the Republicans,” said Dean Debnam, president of Public Policy Polling. “But now he’s doing better against Hillary Clinton than a lot of their perceived electable candidates. Meanwhile Ben Carson just continues to show an unexpected level of strength.”

Mrs. Clinton led former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush by 4 points, 46 percent to 42 percent, and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida by 4 points, 47 percent to 43 percent. She led Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas by 5 points, 47 percent to 42 percent and she led Ohio Gov. John Kasich by 5 points, 44 percent to 39 percent.

She led former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee by 6 points, 48 percent to 42 percent, and she led Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker by 7 points, 47 percent to 40 percent.

In a three-way matchup between Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Bush, and Mr. Trump running as an independent, Mrs. Clinton received 42 percent, with Mr. Trump actually in second at 27 percent and Mr. Bush at 23 percent.

Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who has emerged as Mrs. Clinton’s chief rival in the race for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, had a negative 31 percent/39 percent favorable/unfavorable split. Vice President Joseph R. Biden, who is weighing a run on the Democratic side, was the only person other than Mr. Carson with more positive than negative ratings, and had a 43 percent/40 percent favorable/unfavorable split.

Mr. Biden led Mr. Bush by 3 points, 44 percent to 41 percent, in a head-to-head matchup, while Mr. Sanders trailed Mr. Bush by 1 point, 41 percent to 40 percent.

Mr. Biden led Mr. Trump by 6 points, 47 percent to 41 percent, while Mr. Sanders trailed Mr. Trump by 1 point, 43 percent to 42 percent.

Mr. Carson led Mr. Sanders by 6 points, 42 percent to 36 percent, though Mr. Sanders led Ms. Fiorina by 1 point, 39 percent to 38 percent, and he led Mr. Walker by 1 point, 40 percent to 39 percent.

The survey of 1,254 registered voters was taken from Aug. 28-20 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.8 percent.

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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