Washington (CNN) – They may be familiar figures in political circles, but a new survey suggests that many of the possible 2016 GOP White House contenders are not that well known among Republicans nationwide.
A CNN/ORC International poll released Friday asked Republicans across the country about their opinions of seven people considering bids for the next GOP presidential nomination. At least a quarter of those surveyed said they didn't know enough of five of the seven potential candidates to form an opinion.
According to the poll, 57% said they were unfamiliar with Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, with 32% saying they have a favorable opinion of him and just over one in ten saying they see the two-term governor in an unfavorable light.
Even though Florida Sen. Marco Rubio has been in the headlines quite a bit the past few months, just over one in three Republicans said they were unfamiliar with him, with 54% saying they had a favorable opinion him and 12% saying they have an unfavorable view of the man who gave the Republican response to the President's State of the Union address.
Thanks to his well-covered filibuster, Rand Paul has been in the headlines recently, but 28% of those questioned said they didn't know enough about the senator from Kentucky to form an opinion. Fifty-three percent said they saw him in a favorable light, with just under one in five saying they had a unfavorable opinion of Paul.
Just over a quarter said they were unsure about New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, a 2012 GOP presidential candidate. Forty-eight percent said they saw the tough-talking Christie in a favorable light, with 26% holding an unfavorable opinion. Santorum, a one-time longshot for the 2012 GOP nomination who ended up battling eventual nominee Mitt Romney deep into the primary season, had a similar 47%-27% favorable/unfavorable number.
"Favorable ratings at this stage of the game only measure name recognition, but name recognition does give a candidate a major boost," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Three years before the GOP nominated John McCain in 2004, 84% of rank-and-file Republicans were familiar with him. Three years before the party chose Mitt Romney in 2012, 78% of GOPers knew enough about him to form an opinion. That let both men play the game at a higher level when many of their rivals were still introducing themselves to voters."
Much better known were Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, thanks to name recognition.
Only 13% were unsure about Ryan, less because he's the House Budget Committee chairman and more because he was Romney's running mate last year. Ryan had a 74% favorable rating with 13% seeing him in an unfavorable light.
Bush, the brother of former President George W. Bush and the son of former President George H.W. Bush, is also well recognizable, thanks to his family name. Only 16% were unsure about Bush, who has a 56%-28% favorable/unfavorable rating in the survey.
The CNN poll was conducted March 15-17 by ORC International, with 476 Republicans and independents nationwide who lean towards the GOP questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.