Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump still holds a significant lead over the rest of the GOP field, the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll found Wednesday. And many right-leaning voters say the outspoken billionaire has the best shot at victory in 2016's general election.
Trump garnered the support of 32 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents who are registered to vote, the poll found. Fellow political outsider Dr. Ben Carson trailed at No. 2, earning 22 percent. Trump has easily maintained his front-runner status, while support for Carson has leveled off after rapid summertime gains, the poll found.
Roughly 42 percent of GOP voters said they expect the real estate mogul to win the nomination and, similarly, 43 percent picked Trump as having the best chance to win the general election when presented with a list of the top six potential nominees. The six were Trump, Carson, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and businesswoman Carly Fiorina.
Just 15 percent of Republican-leaning voters said they thought Carson would win the nomination and just 12 percent said they thought third-place Bush would win the nod. Sixteen percent said Carson had the best shot in a general election against the Democrats, and just 12 percent thought Bush had the best chance in the 2016 race.
The 2016 general election would likely put the Republican candidate up against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton or Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who have outpaced the smaller Democratic field. That could change, however, should Vice President Joe Biden decide to run, with a decision expected soon.
While most recent ABC News/Washington Post poll indicated that Republicans said Trump has the best chance in a general election, the data might disagree. The RealClearPolitics average of polls suggests that should the two front-runners, Trump and Clinton, match up in a general election, she has a slight edge. Carson and Bush, meanwhile, would be expected to have an edge over Clinton, the average of polls found.
The ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted Oct. 15-18 through calls to a national sample of 1,001 adults. The results have an expected margin of error of 3.5 percentage points for the total sample and 5.5 percentage points for independents who lean Republican.