Poll: Rand Paul has early advantage over Marco Rubio

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Senator Rand Paul is seen more favorably and is better known among Republicans than Senator Marco Rubio, according to a new poll released Friday by NBC News and the Wall Street Journal.

The pair are considered among the most likely candidates for the 2016 Republican presidential nominee, and have both sought to raise their national profiles in recent months. 

According to the poll, 53 percent of Republicans and 32 percent of Independents see the Kentucky lawmaker favorably. By contrast, Rubio pulls a 48 percent favorability among Republicans and a 27 percent favorability with Independents. Among those who voted for Mitt Romney in the last election, 62 percent see Paul favorably while 56 percent say the same of Rubio.

Both candidates have been working to build their resumes before the 2016 primaries. Rubio has served as an integral part of immigration reform efforts on Capitol Hill, while Paul memorably led a talking filibuster to protest the Obama administration’s drone policy. Both have booked fundraising events in early voting states later this year, and both delivered responses to President Obama’s State of the Union in February.

Still 28 percent of Americans said they did not know who Paul was, and 38 percent said the same of Rubio. Moreover, four in 10 Hispanic voters said they did not know or did not have an opinion of Rubio.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.