A new poll released Wednesday morning found Republican voters are still inclined to back some familiar names in the 2016 presidential race.
Two-time presidential candidate Mitt Romney led the crowded field with 19% support, the Quinnipiac University survey found. The runner-up was former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R), the brother and son of two recent presidents, with 11%.
Meanwhile, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) and Dr. Ben Carson, a prominent conservative activist, each had 8% support in the poll. No other Republican candidate topped 6%.
Tim Malloy, assistant director of the poll, said his firm’s survey indicates Republicans are still backing “more moderate,” establishment candidates over outspoken conservatives.
“Remember Mitt? Republicans still have Gov. Mitt Romney top of mind and top of the heap in the potential race for the top job,” Malloy said in a statement. “But Jeb Bush looms large in second place. With New Jersey Gov. Christopher Christie also in the mix, it looks like Republican voters are favouring more moderate choices for 2016.”
Romney has repeatedly insisted he will not launch a third bid for the White House, but some of his public statements have left his supporters hopeful he’ll change his mind. Meanwhile, Bush has been quietly building the framework for a potential campaign while maintaining he has yet to decide whether or not to run.
Quinnipiac also polled the general election and found Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton narrowly leading all of the Republican candidates except Romney, who holds a 45% to 44% lead in the hypothetical matchup.
“Hillary Clinton has no real rival from her own party, but there are challengers galore in the Republican lineup, with Romney and Christie looking especially strong against her,” Malloy said.
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