“Huckabee/Paul.” Say it aloud. Go on.

It sounds like music, doesn’t it?

Seriously, though, I’m surprised. Not by Huck’s standing, but by Rand’s:


Huckabee’s well known because he’s a former candidate and he’s been on Fox News for years. Paul Ryan’s well known because he was on the Republican ticket in 2012. Rick Perry’s well known because he ran in 2012 and has been ubiquitous on TV lately thanks to the border crisis. But how did Rand Paul get that sort of name recognition? This would kinda sorta make sense to me if it was a poll of all adults or all registered voters because Paul’s been trying so hard this year to get the attention of independents and disaffected Democrats. But it’s a poll of Republicans and leaners, and yet Rand’s “familiarity” score is 10 points higher than his Senate contemporary Rubio’s — and Rubio had plenty of air time last year from conservative media because of the Gang of Eight bill. I can only assume that libertarians are the difference. If you’re a fan of the Pauls but ignore mainstream Republican politics, you might (grudgingly) identify as “lean Republican” for a poll like this even though Rand’s the only guy on your radar screen. That means you’re largely unfamiliar with Rubio, Cruz, and Walker but very familiar with, and supportive of, Paul. Good news for him, if true — these are the voters he’s counting on to give him an edge in Iowa and New Hampshire while the rest of the field divvies up mainstream Republicans and tea partiers.

Those Christie and Bush numbers are interesting too, huh? It’s not a total disaster for Christie since he does comparatively well with Democrats in the poll. He’s at -12 among Dems, tied with Jindal for the smallest negative margin among the other party. (And Jindal’s number is mainly due to the fact that so few Democrats know who he is.) Obviously Christie’s not going to compete for many Dems if he’s the GOP nominee but this suggests that he may still have a little extra appeal to independents. Bush is a different story, though. Not only is he slightly underwater among Republicans, he’s — wait for it — at -34 among Democrats, the worst number of any Republican in the field, Ted Cruz included. That has less to do with Jeb himself, I’m sure, than with the residue of Bush-hate on the left, but it is what it is. If Jeb runs, his pitch will be that he can bring more undecided centrists into the GOP tent than any right-wing candidate could. “Jeb Smith” might be able to do that, true. But Jeb Bush?