And your winner is… well, nobody, really. The first national poll of GOP presidential candidates since all of the new entrants announced came out this morning and as you might have expected, primary voters are splintering off into various corners rather than solidifying behind a consensus candidate this early in the proceedings. In fact, you can’t even pick out who an early “leader” is because it’s a five way tie at ten percent each. (From Time magazine online.)
The Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday found the GOP field split evenly between former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, former neurosurgeon Ben Carson, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. Each earns 10% in a poll of potential Republican primary voters and caucus-goers…
The national survey holds limited predictive value in a race that will start off as a contest among early-state activists, but it will contribute to the culling process for the first GOP debate. Fox News, which is hosting the Aug 6. gathering, will invite the top 10 Republican candidates based on an average of national surveys.
Under the Fox News rules, the rest of the debate stage, according to the Quinnipiac poll, would include Paul, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, reality TV host Donald Trump, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former HP CEO Carly Fiorina, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry would be among those excluded.
The last paragraph of those three is the big news for most observers. The five way tie is a bit of an anomaly in terms of general statistics, but it’s really not all that surprising. Lots of fish have shown up in the pond and each is drawing a measurable number of eyeballs. None of those names at the top – with the possible exception of Huckabee – should come as a shock when the bar is set as low as ten percent. More surprising is the rest of the field of ten who would make the debate stage if it was set for this weekend. Carly Fiorina has edged up only slightly, but it’s enough to put her above the background noise level and claim a podium. Rand Paul and Ted Cruz are no-brainers to be in the mix. But the fact that Trump and Christie are registering is a bit of a shock at this point. And how did Kasich make it onto the second rung of the ladder this fast?
For some of them to potentially be in a debate while Jinal and Perry sit on the bench just seems… wrong. As for Rick Santorum, he didn’t announce until after the poll was taken. (By the way, you can see the full results here.)
While it’s still not very predictive, I was a little surprised to see the only two names who are currently within striking distance of Hillary in the general.
Against Clinton though, only Rubio, and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul—who polls at 7% nationally among Republicans—would pose a threat if the election were held today. Clinton scores 46% to 42% against Paul, and 45% to 41% against Rubio, the poll found. All other Republicans poll multiples behind Clinton.
It’s far too early to take those last match-ups very seriously, but it’s something to watch. Of all the contenders, Rand Paul doesn’t seem like he’s got a very good shot at taking the Primary. Rubio, on the other hand, should wind up being a legitimate force in the race. But January is an eternity away in political terms so we can’t rule anyone out yet. Still, there’s some interesting food for thought in this sample, particularly the names in the bottom five of the top ten GOP hopefuls.