-- A new national poll out today shows 2016 presidential candidate Ben Carson falling from the top of the race for the Republican nomination amidst voters' doubts about his experience and the strength of his leadership.
The neurosurgeon garners 16 percent support in a new Quinnipiac University poll released today, dropping 7 percentage points in the last month to trail frontrunner Donald Trump by double-digits.
Trump garnered 27 percent support, while Sen. Marco Rubio took 17 percent and Sen. Ted Cruz earned 16 percent. All other GOP candidates earned 5 percent or less. Carson had been neck-and-neck for the lead with the real estate mogul in early November.
But now, he's locked in a battle with Rubio and Cruz, both of whom are seeing their highest support in months.
An increased focus on terrorism and foreign affairs after last month's tragic attacks in Paris has prompted a new chapter of the campaign. Only 42 percent of Republican voters now say Carson has the right experience to be president, plummeting from 64 percent just four weeks ago.
And only six in 10 say he has strong leadership qualities -- down from 76 percent of Republicans in early November. But his fall has even affected other areas: Carson has also seen double-digit drops in areas like honesty and trustworthiness and overall favorability, where Carson had been sky high.
In a hypothetical general election match-up, his 10-point lead over Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton from last month has evaporated. The new poll shows 46 vs. 43 percent for Clinton and Carson, respectively. Clinton also improved in hypothetical faceoffs with Cruz and Rubio.
Carson's 25-point lead against Clinton last month among independents has disintegrated to just a single point, while Clinton now leads Carson by 16 points among women - where they had been neck-and-neck just four weeks ago.
Clinton still holds a wide lead on the Democratic nomination race, ahead 60 vs. 30 percent over Sen. Bernie Sanders by solidifying support among women and liberals, the poll shows.
The new numbers were finalized before Carson's recent trip to Jordan to meet with Syrian refugees, a move aimed at bolstering his foreign policy chops in the wake of the Paris attacks. But most of Carson's support has dropped equally across the board, particularly among evangelical voters, where he dropped 13 points.
Trump, for his part, remains steady on the top of the national polls, the undisputed frontrunner less than two months from the Iowa caucuses.
Still, these new national numbers come after a recent Quinnipiac poll in Iowa showed Carson giving way to Sen. Ted Cruz, who had run neck-and-neck with Donald Trump atop the polls in the crucial first-in-the-nation state.