Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is currently as the frontrunner for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, according to a new survey from Public Policy Polling. In a crowded field for the nomination, Rubio garners 18 per cent of the vote among Republicans surveyed. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie follows with 16 per cent, while former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and former vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan each earn 12 per cent. In an earlier PPP poll of Florida Republicans, Bush and Rubio were tied at the top of the list.
The poll suggests that Rubio is popular with the party’s conservative base, while Christie earns more support from its moderates. But PPP director Tom Jensen writes that “there just aren’t that many moderates left in the Republican Party.”
“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,” Jensen writes.
The big difference between Rubio and Christie comes from their favorabilities with the “very conservative” members of the party. A significant 75 per cent of self-identified “very conservative” Republicans view Rubio favourably. Only 42 per cent said the same of Christie, by far the lowest marks for any Republican candidate.
But Rubio also earns crossover support. He is viewed favourably among 39 per cent of independent voters and has a net-positive favorability rating among all age groups.
One name that was left out of PPP’s poll: Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who has been making moves to distance himself from the party’s run under Mitt Romney and possibly position himself for 2016.
On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton continues to dominate the rest of the field. She would lead the field with an astounding 61 per cent of the vote. Vice President Joe Biden, the next closest candidate, earns just 12 per cent. If neither candidate runs, Democratic voters say they’re not sure who they would want.