Sen. Rand Paul leads a host of potential 2016 GOP presidential contenders in a new CNN/ORC International survey — the latest poll to show the Kentucky Republican at the top of the heap in an early look at who Republicans might choose as their next nominee.
Sixteen percent of Republicans and independent-leaning Republicans opted for Mr. Paul in the poll. Rep. Paul Ryan, the House Budget Committee chairman and the party’s 2012 vice presidential nominee, was second at 15 percent and Texas Gov. Rick Perry was third with 11 percent of the vote.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee was the only other candidate to crack double digits, while former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush was at 9 percent and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz each got 8 percent.
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio received 5 percent and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, the last Republican contender standing against eventual 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney, garnered 3 percent.
The CNN survey follows Mr. Paul’s finishing first in the Conservative Political Action Conference/Washington Times straw poll for the second consecutive year, as well as placing first in a poll of Republican activists gathered at this weekend’s Northeast Republican Leadership Conference in the all-important state of New Hampshire.
The CNN/ORC survey of 801 adults conducted from March 7-9 includes 367 Republicans and independents who lean toward Republicans. That smaller sample has a margin of error of plus or minus five percentage points.