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Jeb Bush tops CNN’s latest GOP presidential poll, but trails Hillary Clinton by 17 points

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Although he’s hardly breaking away, Jeb Bush leads the GOP 2016 presidential field in a new CNN/ORC International Poll released Monday morning. And Marco Rubio appears to finally be gaining some traction.

However, both would be crushed by Hillary Clinton if the election were to be held tomorrow.

Bush tops the GOP field with 17 percent, followed by Scott Walker at 12 percent.

Rubio is tied with Rand Paul in third place in the poll with 11 percent. That’s a noticeable improvement for Rubio, who has been mired in single digits in most national polls so far in 2015.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is at 9 percent and Texas Senator Ted Cruz is at 7 percent. Former neurosurgeon Ben Carson and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie are now well behind the leader at 4 percent each.

But Hillary Clinton looks strong in this poll, coming a week after she formally announced her candidacy for the Democratic nomination.

Rubio does the best against Clinton — and he still loses by 14 percentage points to her, 55-41 percent. Bush trails Clinton by 17 points, 56 percent to 39 percent. Christie and Paul fall 19 points behind Clinton, each putting up 39 percent to Clinton’s 58 percent. Huckabee, Walker, Carson and Cruz each trail Clinton by more than 20 points.

In the poll, Bush does well on a variety of attributes: He is most often named as the candidate with the right experience to be president (27%), as the one with the best chance of beating the Democratic nominee in the general election next November (26%) and as the strongest leader in the large field of GOP contenders (21%). He is also more often seen as the candidate with the clearest vision for the country’s future (19%), who cares the most about people like you (18%), and who most closely shares your values (19%).

Interestingly, Bush and Rubio tie for as the candidate who best represents the future of the Republican Party, with both getting 18 percent. Rand Paul is next at 10 percent, the only other candidate to reach double figures in that question.

On the Democratic side, Clinton is easily dominating the field, with 69 percent support. Next is Vice President Joe Biden at 11 percent. Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders is at 5 percent, former Virginia U.S. Sen. Jim Webb is at 3 percent, former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chaffee and Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley is at 1 percent.

The CNN/ORC International poll was conducted by telephone, April 16-19, among a random national sample of 1,018 adult Americans. Results for the full poll have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. Among the 435 Republicans and independents who lean Republican, it is 4.5 points, and among the 458 Democrats and independents who lean Democratic, it is 4.5 points.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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