The big news in presidential politics today is Rand Paul’s official entry into the presidential campaign, making him only the second Republican to formally enter the contest, joining Ted Cruz. Marco Rubio is scheduled to join them next week by announcing his candidacy in Miami.
At the same time a new poll published by Monmouth University in New Jersey shows that there is hardly a consensus favorite this early out for the 2016 race.
Florida Gov. Jeb Bush leads at 13 percent. He’s followed closely by Scott Walker and Ted Cruz at 11 percent, with Mike Huckabee next at 9 percent.
Dr. Ben Carson and Donald Trump are at 7 percent, Rand Paul at 6 percent.
Marco Rubio is next, tied with Rick Perry and Chris Christie at 5 percent support.
None of the other potential GOP presidential candidates — businesswoman Carly Fiorina, South Carolina U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, former Pennsylvania U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, former New York Gov. George Pataki, or former UN Ambassador John Bolton – register higher than 1 percent support from GOP voters.
Among voters who consider themselves to be “very conservative,” Cruz leads with 20 percent. He’s followed by Walker at 16 percent. Jeb Bush is down at 11 percent, tied with Dr. Ben Carson. Mike Huckabee generates 10 percent support among those voters.
A key indicator of the possible fortunes of these putative candidates is their overall favorability rating with the Republican base. Since Monmouth’s last national poll of GOP voters in December, Walker’s ratings have surged, while Christie’s have fallen. Bush, Cruz, Huckabee, and Santorum have also seen their standing improve among Republicans in the past few months.
In terms of overall favorability rankings, Scott Walker leads with a net +35 positive rating – 44 percent favorable to just 9 percent unfavorable.
He’s followed by Huckabee at +32 positive, Cruz is at +30 positive and Rand Paul at +25 positive.
Coming in fifth in favorable rankings is Marco Rubio and Ben Carson at +23. Rick Perry is seventh at +22 positive.
Jeb Bush comes in eighth in the rankings, at +18.
“The Republican field for 2016 remains more open than it has been in past contests. Some candidates, such as Walker, seem to be better placed to form a winning coalition, while others, such as Christie, find their path to victory getting more narrow every day,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, NJ.
The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone from March 30 to April 2, 2015, with 1,005 adults in the United States. This release is based on a sample of 355 registered voters who identify themselves as Republicans or lean toward the Republican Party. This voter sample has a margin of error of +5.2 percent.