The Washington Times - April 3, 2013, 08:07AM

A poll released Wednesday found that there is no clear frontrunner in what is shaping up as a five-way race for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination.

Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who has scored a slew of headlines in the immigration debate, topped the list, snagging 19 percent of the GOP respondents in the survey, while Rep. Paul Ryan, the party’s 2012 vice presidential nominee, placed a close second with 17 percent in the Quinnipiac University national poll.


Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, meanwhile, received 15 percent, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie received 14 percent and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush received 10 percent.

“Three years before the nominating process, the Republicans have no clear favorite,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “Sen. Marco Rubio benefits from his exposure giving the GOP response to the State of the Union while Congressman Paul Ryan is known as the Republican vice presidential candidate. But history tells us being the running-mate on a losing ticket does not help one’s presidential chances. The last three Republicans in that spot were Sarah Palin, Jack Kemp and Dan Quayle, while the Democrats in that role were John Edwards, Joe Lieberman and Lloyd Bentsen.”

Republican voters say — 59 percent to 23 percent — that they would like someone with gubernatorial experience, instead of a senator as their party’s nominee.

“History indicates that Republicans who win the White House tend to be former governors and there are several thinking about running for the White House in 2016,” Mr. Brown said. “New Jersey Gov. Christopher Christie is obviously the best known at this point, and Jeb Bush makes the top five, but Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell barely register in this survey.”

The poll was performed between March 26 to April 1 and included surveyed 1,711 registered voters with a margin of error of plus or minus 2.4 percentage points. The survey includes 712 Republicans with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.7 percent.