March 16th, 2014
08:30 AM ET
5 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. The Anti-Con

    The cons are gonna gain seats in both Houses in 2014...Thinking they "won" something in an off year election they will overreach with their war on women, their lame, futile attempts to end ObamaCare, Koch-blocking immigration reforms and terrorizing the poor and working middle classes with attempts to cut and gut the social safety nets...

    Americans will then wake up to these cavemen and their 19th century thinking (remember how they got shellacked after Prohibition for almost 3 decades?) and by a slim majority in 2016 they will all be voted out of office for being white evangelical anti-Americans...

    March 16, 2014 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  2. The Truth

    Unbelievable! You liberals (or should I say marxists), continue to pretend to yourselves and the rest of us, that the Obama administration and the democrats who blindly support it, are not corrupt, inept, dishonest, hipocratic, and downright sinister.
    Look beyond the fake numbers and Saul Alinsky talking points that the dems are feeding you, and do us all a favor. Try to come out of the haze. Clear your head, slap yourselves in the face, and look in the mirror. Hopefully, by some miracle, you'll realize that you are naked and have become just like your leaders. Please educate yourselves and try this, before you walk into the voting booth and do any more damage to this country by saying, " What difference, at this point, does it make?"

    March 16, 2014 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  3. Thom

    There is not a single Republican that can gather enough votes to win nationally. They alienate too many large groups. Blacks, Gays, Hispanics, Women, young people, and the poor. This is the worst group yet....... Paul has a problem....
    he always speaks his heart and somewhat the truth.....and that will lose him a LOT of votes. Perry is a complete idiot and Teddy Cruise Missile just wants to seek and destroy.

    March 16, 2014 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  4. Bob Loblaw

    Paul is the only one who seems to want to rein in the out-of-control police state. If nobody will do that, it doesn't matter who is elected. 1984 is now; George Orwell was 30 years off.

    March 16, 2014 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  5. Thom

    Paul is very out of touch and still in diapers when it comes to politics.

    March 16, 2014 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  6. Rob

    Hillary Clinton for PRESIDENT??

    Who would be Vice President - Tipper Gore??

    We can do better than a 70-year-old ex-First Lady with health issues, a lingering embassy scandal and no discernible accomplishments.

    March 16, 2014 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  7. Dave - Phx

    As an Independent voter, I will not be voting for either of the extreme ideological candidates, unless I am forced too and one is worse than the other.

    March 16, 2014 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  8. Javier

    All the Democrats need to do is LIE and STEAL and their Weak, Brainwashed Sheep will follow.... Baaaa baaaa

    March 16, 2014 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  9. apetra

    With Democrats proving a disloyal opposition - Hillary, Reid, Kerry, Pelosi all turning coatails on the War on Terror after voting to enter the Iraqi theatre - there's no sense in a "strong national defense" posture any more. The U.S. can't be effective, crass Democrats are too quick to use setbacks in war to political advantage. They demean the troops and the nation.

    March 16, 2014 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  10. rabbit

    you should pick me. I am 60, female, half republican, half democrat. I am a great speaker, writer and I have lived half my life in NJ and half in GA. I am your huckleberry and I know a huge amount about foreign policy and I speak French. I also call it like it is. very what you see is what you get and I will wear jeans.

    March 16, 2014 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  11. Margaret

    It's early 2014, half of the contenders could be politically or realistically dead by 2016. Give it a rest. A moratorium on presidential possibles until July 4, 2015? I bet a lot of people would like that.

    March 16, 2014 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  12. Aaron

    watching Rand over the last 2 months has made me a believer. He will be getting my vote in 2016. I voted for Obama in 2012....boy did I get let down.

    March 16, 2014 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  13. mickinmd

    The core of the GOP, the real Conservative voter, is disgusted with the Tea Party and with the far-right, poorly-educated embarrassments like Huckabee and Perry. If Ryan can fool people into thinking he's not controlled by the insurance industry that has funded 25% or more of his campaigns, he might pass himself off as not so extreme. But remember, he wanted to force Seniors to accept Medicare "vouchers" and send them to private companies who were already getting 13.3% MORE than Medicare B costs per patient at a time when Medicare had all the costly "uninsurable" patients. So Ryan knew he'd be hitting Seniors for big additional expenses for the benefit of his insurance masters.

    March 16, 2014 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  14. Jack

    When you have a party like the Republicans were there is no room for moderates, which most of the country is, you don't have a political party– you have a cult. The Democrats learned this. The extreme left was running the party and they couldn't elect anyone to be dog catcher. Then Clinton and other moderates put together the Democratic Leadership Council to take control of the party and move it to the middle. Then they started winning elections.
    The GOP will have to learn this lesson the hard way, years of unelectable politicians and internecine wars.

    March 16, 2014 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  15. Steve

    Anyone but Hillary.

    March 16, 2014 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  16. BudW

    The winners of the poll for the last 4-5 elections never made it

    March 16, 2014 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  17. Jim Jimson

    Rand Paul will never live in the White House.

    He's a nut.

    March 16, 2014 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  18. TheSilence

    HIllary proves, time and again, that she is the complete opposite of what America needs right now.

    March 16, 2014 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  19. jguy1957

    I think by the end of Obama that the Democrats brand will be so tarnish that he will be hard for a follow up unless they can do Voter Fraud. With Obamacare, the economy, rising taxes, and the increasing shift of power into the administration there will be less and less desire to elect any Democrat and any Republican will be elected. This may not be good for the nation depending if the elitists get to pick the candidate or not. Basically it really doesn't matter between the two parties with the elitists running the Presidency.

    March 16, 2014 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  20. slempy

    I'm really hoping it's Jeb. Just so we can see another Clinton v. Bush, but as it stands now, I'm not voting for either party in the next election.

    March 16, 2014 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  21. DerpDDerperson

    "Rand Paul has done something his father never did – top the list of potential Republican presidential candidates in a national poll."

    No, CNN just posted a truthful return for once. Ron Paul was at the top of most polls, but the media organizations and their shenanigans constantly and consistently shut him out. Since Ron isn't running in 2016, Rand will get my vote when and if he does.

    March 16, 2014 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  22. George

    Killary has no accomplishments accepting l y i n g about Benghazi and how she was shot at.

    March 16, 2014 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  23. barney fife

    Listen for just a minute, Liberals and Democrats.
    You best get on board the winning train before it leaves the failed Democrat station.
    You Dems have had just 5+ years to show yourself, God help us for the next 2.5 years.
    NOT ONE Republican or Indy voted for obamacare, yet every Dem did. In case you havent heard it by now, the MAJORITY of this nation does not want it. I have 7 people in my family that supported obama and the Dems in at least one of the past 2 elections. EVERY SINGLE ONE of them have now stated how sorry they are for voting for this FAILED bill , and each will be voting for anyone BUT a Democrat in 2014 , and 2016.
    YOU people wanted this, you passed it- Now , live with the consequences . You FAILED. Go home.
    ANY ONE of these (R)'s on cnn's little poll can and will lead this country back to prosperity. NO MORE unemployment in the high teens. NO MORE IRS spying. NO MORE pleading the 5th when you're caught. NO MORE NSA spying. NO MORE COVERUPS in Benghazi. YOU DID BUILD THAT. You FAILED. Bad Democrats. Go Home, no biscuit for you.

    March 16, 2014 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  24. wag333

    Surprised they allowed Perry to show 11%. Usually they skew it way down for him.

    March 16, 2014 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  25. bks

    GOP has to figure out a candidate who can really win the presidency. Right now they do not have one
    Right now each candidate has different view of the country and its people and international affairs.
    For example
    Paul -> No foreign policy. Just be your self
    Cruz-> crazy
    Rubio-> immigration has taken him down
    Christe-> Bridge scandal
    Jef Bush-> Likeable but right wing will not consider him
    Who else ?
    Good luck GOP

    March 16, 2014 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
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