Elon, N.C. — A little over four months before North Carolina's presidential primary, retired neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson has opened a double-digit lead over the rest of the Republican field, according to an Elon University Poll released Thursday.
Elon surveyed 1,040 registered voters statewide between Oct. 29 and Nov. 2 for the poll, which has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
Carson garnered support from 31 percent of respondents who said they plan to vote in the Republican primary, up 10 points from a poll Elon conducted in September. Meanwhile, businessman and former front-runner Donald Trump dropped from 21 percent in the previous poll to 19 percent.
No other Republican candidate obtained more than 10 percent support in the poll.
On the Democratic side, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton maintains a sizable lead over U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, 57 percent to 24 percent, according to the poll.
If those two primary results were to pan out, poll respondents picked Carson to carry North Carolina over Clinton next November, 48 to 44 percent.
Meanwhile, in a potential gubernatorial race between Republican Gov. Pat McCrory and Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper, Cooper now leads 45 percent to 40 percent, according to the poll, although almost 13 percent of respondents are still undecided.
The results marked the first time Cooper topped McCrory in an Elon poll. The governor was 2 points ahead in April and a point ahead in a September survey.