A new nationwide poll found that Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee are leading the field of potential 2016 presidential candidates.
Mr. Paul and Mr. Huckabee won support from 13 percent of those surveyed, while former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush was nipping at their heels with 11 percent.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz each pulled in 9 percent.
“With a field of quality candidates, it is no surprise that no one has broken away from the pack,” said Chris Wilson, CEO of WPA Opinion Research, which did the poll. “The important thing at this point of the race is staying in the conversation, and the fact that Rand Paul, Huckabee, Bush, Christie and Cruz are all managing to do that bodes well for them long term.”
The survey also showed that the Republican and Republican-leaning respondents surveyed believed that Mr. Paul, Mr. Christie and Mr. Bush had the best chance of beating Hillary Clinton in a hypothetical general election showdown.
“Christie is clearly not the first choice among GOP voters overall, but when you look at which candidate Republicans believe can beat Hillary Clinton there is evidence that the theory a moderate Republican can beat a liberal Democrat still holds some sway,” the pollster noted. “It’s a shame some Republicans haven’t learned the lessons of nominating moderate candidates like Bob Dole, John McCain or Mitt Romney.”
The telephone poll of 801 people was conducted March 18-20.
Rep. Paul Ryan, the party’s 2012 vice presidential nominee, and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio were tied for sixth place, with 6 percent of the vote. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker received 5 percent and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal received 3 percent, as did former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.