QuinnipiacWhile there are 17 candidates in the running, the race for the Republican nomination for president is now a two-man contest, according to the Quinnipiac University poll out this morning.

Donald Trump is out front with the support of 27-percent of likely Iowa Republican Caucus goers, while Ben Carson is in second place with 21-percent. None of the other GOP candidates are in double-digits. Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac poll, says it’s becoming clear Iowa Republicans think the best person for the nation’s top job is someone who’s never before been elected.

“Mr. Trump, Dr. Carson and Carly Fiorina together get more than half the vote yet none of them have ever held political office,” Brown says, “and that’s made this campaign a bit unusual.”

While Trump is the most preferred candidate on this poll, he’s also the most shunned. The pollsters asked which candidates likely Caucus-goers would “definitely not support” to compile what’s called the “No Way” list.

“Mr. Trump’s numbers are interesting because he leads the horse race but he also is the candidate who gets the highest number when voters are asked who would they not vote for,” Brown says. “In fairness to Mr. Trump, those numbers have been coming down in terms of negativity, but he still gets the highest score from those who say they wouldn’t vote for him.”

On the “No Way” list, 25 percent of those Iowans polled say they wouldn’t vote for Trump, while Jeb Bush had 23 percent and Chris Christie was third with 14 percent.

The previous Quinnipiac poll released in July showed Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker with a solid 18 percent lead, while Trump and Carson trailed with 10 percent each. Brown notes it’s been a huge turnaround in the past two months.

“The businessman and the surgeon have come out of nowhere to dominate the field and Scott Walker, who was very prominent among the leaders in Iowa, he led the last Quinnipiac poll, he’d done very well in other polls, his standing has just dropped dramatically,” Brown says. “The man who was once ahead of the field in Iowa is now in the middle of the pack.”

On the latest poll, Walker’s support has dwindled significantly as he’s fallen from first place to eighth. “Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is paying the price for the growth in votes for Dr. Carson and Mr. Trump,” Brown says. “In other words, many of those who used to say they were for Governor Walker, now say they’re either for Mr. Trump or Dr. Carson. The thing about politics is, it’s a zero sum gain. When someone gains, someone else loses.”

While Trump and Carson top the new poll of likely Iowa Republican Caucus participants, Texas Senator Ted Cruz is in third place with 9-percent, followed by former Florida Governor Jeb Bush with 6 percent, and 5 percent each for Carly Fiorina, Ohio Governor John Kasich and Florida Senator Marco Rubio. Four percent of those polled are undecided, while Scott Walker got 3 percent of the support. None of the other candidates topped 4 percent.