PPP’s newest national poll finds Marco Rubio as the early choice of Republicans for 2016. 18% would like him to be their nominee to 14% for Chris Christie, 12% for Jeb Bush and Paul Ryan, 11% for Mike Huckabee, 8% for Condoleezza Rice, 7% each for Sarah Palin and Rand Paul, and 4% for Rick Santorum.
Rubio’s ahead because of his strength with the most conservative wing of the party. Among ‘very conservative’ voters he’s at 23% to 17% for Paul Ryan and 13% for Mike Huckabee. He also had the advantage with folks describing themselves as ‘somewhat conservative’ at 22% to 14% for Chris Christie and 13% for Jeb Bush. Christie has a big lead with moderates at 35% to 20% for Bush and 11% for Huckabee with Rubio all the way back at 5%. But there just aren’t that many moderates left in the Republican Party.
Here’s how all the Republican hopefuls stack up in terms of net favorability:
|Potential Candidate||Net Favorability|
|Paul Ryan||+59 (74/15)|
|Mike Huckabee||+58 (73/15)|
|Condoleezza Rice||+55 (73/18)|
|Marco Rubio||+51 (62/11)|
|Jeb Bush||+49 (63/14)|
|Sarah Palin||+42 (66/24)|
|Rick Santorum||+39 (56/17)|
|Rand Paul||+31 (53/22)|
|Chris Christie||+21 (49/28)|
The thing that really stands out here is Christie being at the bottom of the pile. Although his cooperation with President Obama in relation to Hurricane Sandy doesn’t seem to have hurt him with Republicans in New Jersey, these numbers suggest it has caused some irritation with him outside the state. His favorability with folks describing themselves as ‘very conservative’ is only 42/31, with every other person we tested over 60%.
One other note on the Republicans: 20% think Reince Priebus should continue as chair, 37% think he should be replaced, and 43% don’t have an opinion either way.
On the Democratic side it continues to be no contest. Hillary Clinton leads the way at 61% to 12% for Joe Biden, 5% for Andrew Cuomo, 4% for Elizabeth Warren, 2% for Martin O’Malley, and 1% each for Deval Patrick, Brian Schweitzer, and Mark Warner.
If neither Clinton nor Biden runs the big winner is ‘undecided.’ 45% of voters aren’t sure who they would support with Cuomo leading at 21% to 16% for Warren, 8% for Patrick, 5% for O’Malley, 3% for Warner, and 2% for Schweitzer.
Clinton has at least 60% support with all three major ideological factions of the party- ‘very liberal’ voters, ‘somewhat liberal’ ones, and moderates. One thing that really stands out in the crosstabs is that 74% of African Americans want her to be the standard bearer next time. There doesn’t seem to be any residual ill will over her 2008 battle with Barack Obama.
Beyond Clinton and Biden none of these folks are particularly well know:
|Potential Candidate||Name Recognition|
All 9 of the Republicans we tested have at least 73% name recognition with their party base. Only Clinton and Biden reach that level among the Democrats, and beyond that only Cuomo and Warren even reach the 50% name recognition level. It’s really going to be wide open if neither of the big names runs on the Democratic side.
And for what it’s worth here are the net favorabilities of all these folks among the entire electorate, regardless of party:
|Potential Candidate||Net Favorability|
|Chris Christie||+22 (48/26)|
|Condoleezza Rice||+22 (51/29)|
|Hillary Clinton||+21 (57/36)|
|Marco Rubio||+8 (35/37)|
|Joe Biden||+2 (46/44)|
|Jeb Bush||Even (38/38)|
|Mike Huckabee||-1 (38/39)|
|Paul Ryan||-1 (41/42)|
|Elizabeth Warren||-2 (25/27)|
|Rand Paul||-6 (32/38)|
|Mark Warner||-7 (9/16)|
|Deval Patrick||-7 (10/17)|
|Rick Santorum||-10 (30/40)|
|Andrew Cuomo||-10 (23/33)|
|Brian Schweitzer||-12 (4/16)|
|Martin O’Malley||-12 (5/17)|
|Sarah Palin||-23 (33/56)|
Christie finds himself at the top largely because of his appeal to Democrats, 42% of whom rate him favorably to 25% with a negative opinion. The question of course is whether he can appeal enough to voters on the right wing of his party to actually win the nomination. Rice is the most popular of the potential candidates with independent voters, 55% of whom see her favorably to 26% with a negative opinion. If there’s anyone who could pull off a successful third party campaign these days it’s probably her. Those two and Clinton are in a class by themselves in terms of their popularity, and of course Clinton has the clearest path to a spot on the ballot.