Not so much a bad poll for Trump as a great poll for Carson. This is also the third time in the last four national polls taken in which he’s cracked 20 percent, putting him right on Trump’s heels.

And so the GOP confronts a new political question: Who’ll be President Carson’s VP?

Running down the GOP race:  Trump remains in the top spot with 24 percent, closely followed by Carson at 23 percent.  Ted Cruz is third with 10 percent.  Those are the only three who receive double-digit backing from Republican primary voters…

Carson has climbed 11 points since mid-August when he registered at 12 percent, while support for Trump has mostly held steady…

Voters are also asked to name their second-choice candidate.  When first and second-choice preferences are considered together, Carson (41 percent) actually has the edge over Trump (37 percent).

On the positive side, 46 percent of GOP primary voters would “definitely” vote for Carson.  That’s more than double the number that felt that way in August (20 percent).  Thirty-seven percent would “definitely” vote for Trump, 34 percent for Rubio, 31 percent for Cruz, 30 percent for Fiorina and 26 percent for Bush.

What explains the recent surge in Carsonmania? It’s got to be his scuffles with the media about whether a candidate who follows Islamic law could comply with the Constitution as president and whether an armed citizenry is crucial to resisting oppressive regimes like the Nazis, right? That’s some of the reddest cultural meat a conservative can dish out and he’s been dishing it unapologetically, despite endless pressure from his cable news hosts to recant. If you’re intent on an “outsider” candidate and you don’t like Trump for whatever reason — too brash, not conservative enough — then he’s the obvious alternative. Especially with Fiorina continuing to disappear from view: She’s at five percent here, down from nine percent after Fox’s last poll following the second debate in September.

This is also a good poll for Ted Cruz, who, at 10 percent, is in double digits for the first time in a national survey since August. The CBS national poll released yesterday had him at a similar place, with nine percent. Those are his two highest totals in two months, suggesting that Cruz might finally be starting to move towards the top — which is not something you’d expect in a poll that’s also highly favorable to Carson, whose base overlaps substantially with Cruz’s. As for the big loser in the poll, there’s an obvious chocie — and it’s not a Republican.

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The last time Fox News tested her head-to-head against those four candidates, Hillary led Trump, Fiorina, and Carson and trailed Bush narrowly by two points. Today she trails them all, by double digits in Carson’s case. Joe Biden, meanwhile, leads all of them in one-on-one match-ups. Just something to bear in mind during your debate-watching this evening, as CNN’s talking heads contemplate Hillary’s “inevitability.”