2016 begins with some outsider candidates finding themselves out of the picture in USA TODAY's weekly GOP Power Rankings.
Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina tallied their worst scores this week since we started this survey Sept. 1, asking 30 political experts who is the strongest candidate in the GOP field.
Carson is still in sixth place, as he was last week, but the gap between him and Jeb Bush in fifth place has grown from a sliver to gulf. Carson's point total is closer to Rick Santorum's in 11th place than Donald Trump's in first.
As the campaigns ramp up in the sprint to the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primaries, the GOP field appears to have separated into two categories: Five serious contenders and a bunch of long shots.
Carson held first place in our survey briefly at the end of October, but he drifted downward as the year closed and several top staffers left his campaign over the past couple of weeks, leaving a sense of disarray.Read the rest of the story HERE, view a related video, and follow links to past weeks below:
Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3
Week 4 | Week 5 | Week 6
Week 7 | Week 8 | Week 9
Week 10 | Week 11 | Week 12
Week 13 | Week 14 | Week 15
Week 16 | Week 17 | Week 18
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