NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The U.S. Secret Service is now protecting the presidential campaigns of Ben Carson and Donald Trump.

The Homeland Security Department tells The Associated Press that it has authorized its agents to work on protective details for the two leading Republican presidential candidates.

Both requested protection last month. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson approved the requests after consulting with five members of Congress.

The presence of Secret Service agents can elevate the perception of a campaign’s legitimacy. Carson and Trump have been leading the GOP nomination fight one year ahead of the 2016 election.

A Quinnipiac University GOP presidential poll out Wednesday showed a virtual tie between Trump and Carson, with Trump getting 24 percent of Republican votes and Carson getting 23 percent.

Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida is at 14 percent followed by Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas at 13 percent and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush at 4 percent, the poll found.

Secret Service protection is generally afforded to candidates for president and vice president 120 days before an election. But past candidates, including President Barack Obama, have been assigned protection far earlier in their campaigns.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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