Online poll: Carson slips, leaving Trump on top

Retired neurosurgeon Ben CarsonBen CarsonSunday shows preview: Multiple states detect cases of the omicron variant Race is not central to Rittenhouse case — but the media shout it anyway Trump endorses primary challenger to Peter Meijer in Michigan MORE has slipped in a new NBC News/Survey Monkey online poll, leaving celebrity businessman Donald TrumpDonald TrumpGOP grapples with chaotic Senate primary in Pennsylvania ​​Trump social media startup receives commitment of billion from unidentified 'diverse group' of investors Iran thinks it has the upper hand in Vienna — here's why it doesn't MORE alone again at the top of the Republican presidential field.

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Trump holds the top spot at 28 percent among Republican and Republican-leaning independents, while Carson has dropped 8 points from the same online survey conducted last month. Online surveys are generally considered less scientific.

That puts Carson neck-and-neck with Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzHospitals in underserved communities face huge cuts in reckless 'Build Back Better' plan To counter China, the Senate must confirm US ambassadors The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Congress avoids shutdown MORE (R-Texas) at 18 percent in the new poll. Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioOvernight Defense & National Security — US tries to deter Russian invasion of Ukraine Senate eyes plan B amid defense bill standoff To counter China, the Senate must confirm US ambassadors MORE (R-Fla.), another top contender, follows at 11 percent.

Cruz, who has pushed back hard against allowing Syrian refugees into the U.S. after the terror attacks in Paris, now leads among those who identify as "very conservative" at 40 percent, beating both Carson (15 percent) and Trump (28 percent).

Rubio and Cruz have sparred since the the fourth GOP debate last week on issues of illegal immigration and national security, while Trump has seen leads in several other polls after the Paris attacks.

Meanwhile, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush stands at 4 percent in the latest survey, while New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina take 3 percent each.

The online poll of 2,440 Republican and Republican-leaning voters was conducted Nov. 15-17 with an estimated margin of error of 2.9 points.