Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump remains the top choice for S.C. GOP primary voters and has a wider lead over Ben Carson than recent polls have shown, a new poll found.
According to the Benchmark Research poll, Trump leads the state’s GOP presidential primary with 25.5 percent support. Carson trails at 17.5 percent.
A poll earlier this month showed Trump with a 4-percentage point lead over Carson. Another poll taken during the same period showed Carson ahead by 1 percentage point.
The results put U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Marco Rubio of Florida closer to Carson, picking up 14 percent and 13.7 percent support, respectively.
Lexington political consultant Walter Whetsell, whose polling outfit conducted the survey, said the poll shows Trump appears to be holding his lead after last Tuesday’s GOP presidential debate.
Whetsell added: “It looks to me as though Carson is down a few points, and Rubio (fighting for third place) has probably been the beneficiary of that.”
The Benchmark survey interviewed 314 likely Republican primary voters Nov. 12-15.
In the poll, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is in fifth place with 6.4 percent and U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina is in sixth with 3.2 percent support.