March 16th, 2014
08:30 AM ET
4 months ago

CNN Poll: Rand Paul goes where his father never went

Washington (CNN) - Rand Paul has done something his father never did - top the list of potential Republican presidential candidates in a national poll.

According to a new CNN/ORC International survey, 16% of Republicans and independents who lean toward the GOP say they would be likely to support the senator from Kentucky for the 2016 nomination.


Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the 2012 Republican vice presidential nominee, garnered 15%, with longtime Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who's considering another bid for the White House, at 11%.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a 2008 GOP presidential candidate, is the only other Republican tested in the survey to crack double digits.

The poll's sampling error means that statistically it's not a win for Paul, but his finish is a breakthrough for his family.

A national Quinnipiac poll found Paul tied with Ryan in January for the top spot. That appears to be as close as either Rand Paul or his father, Ron Paul, has ever come to nabbing first place all by himself in any national poll.

Among the other potential presidential hopefuls in the new CNN survey, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is at 9%, with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas each at 8%.

Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida registered 5% and former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, who battled eventual GOP nominee Mitt Romney deep into the 2012 GOP primary and caucus calendar, polled 3%.

"With a crowded field and no clear frontrunner among the potential candidates, we should expect to see constant fluctuation in the amount of support most candidates get and the order of finish, so it would be easy to read too much into these numbers," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

While Paul is only 1 point ahead of Ryan, his placement is symbolic.

"Remember the 2011-2012 presidential season, when at least five GOP candidates - Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Rick Perry and Herman Cain - topped our polls at one time or another?" said Holland. "Notice who was never in first place during that topsy-turvy time: Ron Paul."

The elder Paul, then a congressman from Texas, also never managed to get double-digit support in national polling when he ran for the GOP nomination in 2008. Paul also ran for President in 1988 as a libertarian candidate.

Same story among Democrats

In the potential race for the Democratic nomination, it's the same old story: if Hillary Clinton runs, she would start the race as her party's overwhelming frontrunner.

According to the poll, which was released Sunday, 63% of Democrats and independents who lean toward the party say they'd favor Clinton as the Democratic nominee, with Vice President Joe Biden a distant second at 13%.

The former secretary of state has said that she'll decide by the end of the year whether she makes a second run for the White House, and Biden has said he'll decide about making a third bid for the Democratic nomination either later this year or early next.

Three other possible Democratic presidential candidates, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, and former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer, all register in the low single digits.

The poll was conducted for CNN by ORC International March 7-9, with 801 adults nationwide questioned by telephone. The sample includes 367 Republicans and independents who lean toward the GOP and 372 Democrats and independents who lean toward the Democratic Party.

The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 5 percentage points for the Democratic and Republican nomination questions.

CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report


Filed under: 2016 • Andrew Cuomo • CNN/ORC poll • Hillary Clinton • Joe Biden • Marco Rubio • Martin O'Malley • Mike Huckabee • Paul Ryan • Rand Paul • Rick Perry • Rick Santorum • Ted Cruz
soundoff (250 Responses)
  1. Marie MD

    Unfortunately like his daddy he will not get very far. Too bad brother of Rand

    March 16, 2014 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  2. Steve

    SO out of less then 300 of each party the polls show nothing really this is part of the problem we currently have – instead of paying attention to what candidates say people pay miore attention to what polls say and yet obviously the polls do not really show what teh overall public thinks or wants just a less then 1% sampling and that gets people elected that should not be and we wonder why we are in the mess we are

    March 16, 2014 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  3. Jason

    Sen Paul? Hysterical.

    March 16, 2014 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  4. Celebrity Dictator

    As a libertarian, Rand Paul is attractive to real liberals who aren't on board with the big government , invasive tactics of Progressives. Paul will also attract a lot of Republicans who aren't wedded to the social conservative policies of the right. He's no doubt a dangerous candidate for Clinton to contend with.

    March 16, 2014 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  5. Stop wasting time

    So 84% of conservatives want someone else? And that's considered a good thing for him?

    March 16, 2014 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  6. josey

    Libertarians could never win many elections, so they hijacked the Republican Party -
    and many Republican "Christians" hopped onboard the Tea Party train that worships Ayn Rand – an ATHEIST.
    Crazy.

    March 16, 2014 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  7. DJohnston

    Rand is doing better than Ron because the GOP has moved significantly to the right. Without a black guy running on the other side, I wonder how well the Repub candidate will do. Of course, conservatives do hate the Clintons.

    March 16, 2014 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  8. bobsomeguy

    No one that makes it through what is sure to be an even more ideologically pure GOP primary than last time, has a chance in hell of winning nationally. There is no heir apparent this time, so it's going to be a total free for all.

    March 16, 2014 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  9. Ralph Hix

    My last comment said CPAC but it was the Iowa Caucuses. Even so CNN never gave him the respect he deserved.

    March 16, 2014 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  10. Randy, San Francisco

    Sen Ran Paul's poll numbers may have a ceiling when some social conservative voters find some of his Libertarian ideas hard to swallow.

    March 16, 2014 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  11. Dave

    Rand Paul vs Hillary Clinton

    Sorry, Republicans. You're screwed.

    March 16, 2014 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  12. Obama

    Hillary Clinton is the best nomination for 2016, her experiences along makes her the best nominee for president of the USA. Go Hillary! Let make history with our first woman president! She have my vote along with millions who feel the same!

    March 16, 2014 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  13. Obama

    Let's make history with our first woman president!

    March 16, 2014 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  14. Brian from DC

    Let's see, sixteen percent of Republicans want Rand Paul and SIXTY-THREEE percent of Democrats and Independents would vote for Hillary Clinton!! Bring it on!

    March 16, 2014 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  15. nuclear mike

    All this tells any citizen that the 2nd American Revolution is coming sooner than we expect...

    March 16, 2014 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  16. Tim Halbert

    Does it truly matter if any of these people win? I have never seen a more selfish generation of people, where do they come from? The very leaders who use the word God, I love God, God love you, you should love God. These are the same people who use God's name as a punch line to a joke in fundraising. They could care less about their neighbors and if they can't get rich by ripping off the public, taking advantage of insider trading and rich friends then merely demand that their constituents pay them bribes. This generation of leadership cares about one thing "themselves!" They would sell their country out for a few million dollars, they become prostitutes to the highest bidding company and lack any type of moral compass / direction available. If being a politician today is an insult to the hard working prostitutes that work America's streets everyday. At least they give someone back, Congress and other politicians do nothing but TAKE, TAKE, TAKE and never give back anything.

    March 16, 2014 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  17. Steve

    Elizabeth Warren is who the nation needs at this time. There's lots of time for things to unfold.

    March 16, 2014 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  18. dave

    One extremist is about the same as any other extremist. When it gets to top issues like trade and the use of supply side economics there's not much difference between any of them, democrat, or one extremist to another. You get the same status quo no matter who gets nominated, so you really end up with an election about nothing. Maybe over some far lesser issues, involving maybe 1% of the population. Of course the media can make involving 1% of the population is some kind of huge earth shattering thing, when it almost effects no one, while the economy continues to be shattered by supply side economics and terrible trade deals, along with other things like maintaining a huge labor/worker surplus which ensures there will always be high unemployment, lack of participation in the workforce, no pay raises, no increase in benefits, declining wages/salaries, huge division of wealth, and all the other things that go with having a huge labor surplus.

    March 16, 2014 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  19. Terry B

    Fascism or Democracy? Republican or Democrat? If you like the former than a republican is your person for the presidency. If you like freedom and democracy than only a democrat should be in the white house. The current republican leaders constantly espouse fascist values that are often confused with religious zealotry because of the many similarities that the two have. Both love to suppress freedom, logic and common sense as to how political decisions should be made. Lets hope we can survive an onslaught of these despicable people for at least another 10 years. Hopefully by the end of that time we will no longer have those who espouse fascist views will no longer represent the GOP.

    March 16, 2014 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  20. Lisa

    Inbred's will vote for any republican if they are NAZI enough!

    March 16, 2014 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  21. NObama No More Bush No more Clinton

    Go Rand Paul!

    March 16, 2014 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  22. Grinning Libber

    Pack of fools. None of them have a chance.

    March 16, 2014 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  23. EJ

    Although I don't agree with everything Rand Paul states (I'm an independent who leans more left of center), I do have some strong libertarian values. These primarily center around the notion that people are responsible for themselves, and DO NOT require the government to help them survive. While I do believe that government has an important role, it is in the form of maintaining anti-trust legislature to promote true capitalism (no special interesting groups allowed to lobby), protecting its people with a capable military, and providing infrastructure such as roads, highways, etc. Finally, I believe that government has a constitutional duty to limit the powers of itself.

    Rand Paul is the ONLY candidate who believes in getting our fiscal house in order. Sure, I don't believe in many of his talking points before, although I think he says these just to stay true to his libertarian stance. However, the mainstream media tends to bring up these prior talking points over and over and over again (primarily his stance on the civil rights movement). I can guarantee that no president will be able to reverse the civil rights act.

    There are those who run for presidency who crave power, and then there are those such as Rand Paul who run for presidency because its the right thing to do. They see themselves in a position where they can restore the greatness of this country by following the principles of the constitution, and attempting to correct this fiscal behemoth of a problem we have run ourselves into with the last 2 presidents (Bush and Obama). So I urge Americans to consider a true 3rd party candidate, who is running on the Republican ticket just so that he can have the opportunity to improve our country before it goes into financial ruin.

    March 16, 2014 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  24. Common sense

    Most Americans can't even find the United states on a world map. I fear who ever it is that lies their way into the white house (again) will be voted for by these low information voters. See past the R and D after their names and pick the right candidate that will allow the american people to keep our freedoms. That's the only thing that makes America great. If that's gone what's the point in living in strip mall America?

    March 16, 2014 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  25. kay

    This field is the best that the republicans can put up front. Go Hillary!!!!!!!!!

    March 16, 2014 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
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