- The Washington Times - Friday, January 23, 2015

Former Massachusetts Gov. and 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney has a double-digit lead over other potential 2016 Republican contenders in a new poll.

Mr. Romney is at 24 percent in the Rasmussen poll that asked likely Republican voters to pick who they would vote for if the 2016 GOP presidential primary were being held in their state today from a group of eight possible contenders. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush was next at 13 percent, with retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson at 12 percent and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker at 11 percent.

A write-up accompanying the survey notes that name recognition is a big role this early in the proceedings, and much has been written about Mr. Romney since he told donors earlier this month he was thinking about a third possible presidential run in 2016.

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie were at 7 percent apiece, and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry were at 5 percent apiece. Four percent preferred another candidate and 12 percent were undecided.

When voters were asked to choose between Mr. Romney and Mr. Bush in a head-to-head match-up, 49 percent picked Mr. Romney, 32 percent said Mr. Bush and 19 percent were undecided; the two heavyweights met privately in Salt Lake City on Thursday.

The survey of 787 likely Republican voters was conducted Jan. 18-19 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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