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Marco Rubio in second place in Economist/YouGov GOP survey

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A new Economist/YouGov poll finds Donald Trump continuing to lead the GOP presidential race, but the numbers are troubling for his candidacy going forward.

The New York City-based businessman/celebrity leads with 25 percent support, followed by Marco Rubio at 16 percent, Ben Carson at 15 percent, Ted Cruz at 9 percent,  Carly Fiorina at 8 percent, Jeb Bush at 7 percent and Rand Paul at 4 percent.

The poll shows that just two weeks ago, nearly half of Republicans picked Trump as their first or second choice. Now, after the second GOP presidential debate, that number has dropped by 12 points. One in four now choose Trump as their first choice; last week a third did. And his unfavorable ratings have jumped 13 points.

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, who was widely seen as having done the best job in the second debate, has also gained support. But fewer than one in 10 Republicans name her as their first choice, about the same percentage who choose Texas U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. Fiorina runs equally well with men as with women. In fact, support for Cruz has the largest gender gap: 14 percent of Republican men in this week’s poll choose Cruz as their first choice, compared with only 4% percent of GOP women.

Thirty-five percent of Republicans select Trump as the likely nomination winner, 13 percent choose Bush, and 10 percent name Rubio. But when asked who has the best chance against a Democrat next year? Bush is the only Republican candidate seen by a majority of the public overall as a possible winner next November; 56 percent of Republicans agree.

The survey of 2,000 people was taken between Sept. 25-29.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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