PPP’s newest national poll finds Marco Rubio as the early choice of Republicans for 2016. 18% would like him to be their nominee to 14% for Chris Christie, 12% for Jeb Bush and Paul Ryan, 11% for Mike Huckabee, 8% for Condoleezza Rice, 7% each for Sarah Palin and Rand Paul, and 4% for Rick Santorum.
Rubio’s ahead because of his strength with the most conservative wing of the party. Among ‘very conservative’ voters he’s at 23% to 17% for Paul Ryan and 13% for Mike Huckabee. He also had the advantage with folks describing themselves as ‘somewhat conservative’ at 22% to 14% for Chris Christie and 13% for Jeb Bush. Christie has a big lead with moderates at 35% to 20% for Bush and 11% for Huckabee with Rubio all the way back at 5%. But there just aren’t that many moderates left in the Republican Party.
The thing that really stands out here is Christie being at the bottom of the pile. Although his cooperation with President Obama in relation to Hurricane Sandy doesn’t seem to have hurt him with Republicans in New Jersey, these numbers suggest it has caused some irritation with him outside the state. His favorability with folks describing themselves as ‘very conservative’ is only 42/31, with every other person we tested over 60%.
One other note on the Republicans: 20% think Reince Priebus should continue as chair, 37% think he should be replaced, and 43% don’t have an opinion either way.