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Polls: Rubio surges into third place in GOP race, Carson seizes first

By Doug G. Ware
Polls: Rubio surges into third place in GOP race, Carson seizes first
Sen. Marco Rubio surged in a Monmouth University poll on Monday, which indicated that the Florida senator has the support of. about 13 percent of likely GOP New Hampshire primary voters. Rubio trails Ben Carson by three points and Donald Trump by 13 points. Pool photo by Jason Bahr/UPI | License Photo

CONCORD, N.H., Nov. 2 (UPI) -- Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio has received a large boost in support in New Hampshire after a strong performance during last week's debate.

The Florida senator is now firmly in third place behind Ben Carson and Donald Trump in the state, a poll conducted by Monmouth University in New Jersey indicates.

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The survey showed about a quarter of likely Republican primary voters in New Hampshire support Trump. Carson received 16 percent and Rubio 13 percent. Though in third, Rubio's support has skyrocketed in recent days.

In September, Rubio was polling at about 4 percent, the university said. In July, his support was at 6 percent.

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John Kasich was fourth with 11 percent, followed by Ted Cruz with 9 percent, Jeb Bush with 7 percent, Chris Christie and Carly Fiorina, both at 5 percent, Rand Paul with 3 percent, and Mike Huckabee at 1 percent to round out the top 10.

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A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll Monday also placed Rubio third with 11 percent of nationwide Republican support. Carson, second in the Monmouth poll, seized first place in the NBC survey with 29 percent -- 6 points ahead of Trump.

New Hampshire plays a critical role in the nomination process, as it is the first national primary held -- scheduled for Feb. 9.

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Analysts credit Rubio's strong performance at Wednesday's GOP debate as likely the main reason for the boost.

"Marco Rubio's standout performance in the last debate seems to have paid dividends in a contest that was supposed to be dominated by his former mentor Jeb Bush," Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute, said. "Rubio's newfound support seems to be a little softer than for other candidates at the front of the pack, but it is not particularly solid for anybody."

Further, there is plenty of opportunity for Rubio to keep climbing. The poll indicated that about 20 percent of the people surveyed said they have already made up their mind on which candidate they will vote for in next year's primary.

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Nineteen percent responded that they are entirely undecided.

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Trump and Carson, though, have seen their support decline. Trump polled at 28 percent in September and Carson 17 percent in the Monmouth survey.

Sixty-two percent of those polled responded that they have a favorable "general impression" of Rubio. Only Carson, with 64 percent, had a higher rating in that regard.

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