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
Ted Cruz for President in 2016! GO TED!
The Republicans should nominate Christie. He is too big to fail.
It is going to very hard for the GOP to win the Presidency as the huge army of welfare voters created under Obama make it almost impossible for a conservative candidate to win!
How amusing. None of those candidates stand a snowball's chance in heck of winning a national election. The clown car will fill and empty several more times before the biggest fool is chosen. Why on earth can't a REASONABLE Republican win support? Are there any? I've voted Democrat in every election since I was 18, but I am willing to listen to a Republican who doesn't hate everyone who isn't a rich, straight, white male. These crusades of hatred against gays, women, children, and the poor is damnable and makes me sick with fury.
I would support a Paul and Kucinich ticket for president and VP in 2016 so we would not start more foreign misadventures.
Those are the possible choices for both parties in 2016????
Heaven help us..
Trey Gowdy is the only one .
Except for Rand Paul, all are lawyers.
If we can't do better than more Clintons and Bushes in the White House, we are in real trouble.
Hillary is closer to the Center, so she's got my vote. Perfect? No, but center-left is a better choice than far-right.
This is a joke. These are the best they can come up with? The GOP is truly in a bad state if this is their best.
The next Republican President hasn't been born yet.
"The backlash for the GOP's extreme right-directed behavior over the last few years has scared off the public, and trust must be rebuilt.
And there's the problem: we have a populace who now labels those who want to balance a budget and control spending as "extremists." The Tea Party is the last bastion of sanity in this nation. It's the establishment that has continued the rubberstamping of unsustainable economic policies that have left us with over 90-trillion dollars of unfunded liabilities–and still growing, I might add. I'd dare anyone out there to pick up the US Constitution and to read the 10th amendment and make sense out of what our nation has become. It's simply unfathomable.
The question I have isn't for the GOP or for the Democrats. It's for the American people. Are you going to keep voting for both these parties? Are you going to keep cheering them on like sports teams? Are you going to accept being lied to?
I'm not sure how anyone could live through Bush and Obama and continue to vote for the status quo.
It's obvious Rubio will be their nominee. Since the GOP has angered the Latino vote by saying NO to any immigration reform they don't have a choice.
The pundits never quit, why can't we at least wait till the candidates announce??? I guess the Obama experience has truly soured me on politics since Wall Street owns all our elected officials why aren't we electing lobbyists??? Democracy is dead killed dreadfully by greed!!!
Rand will be very appealing to most Americans after this nightmare we've endured with Obama's brand of Progressivism. Libertarianism is the closest philosophy to that held by our founders. It stresses individual freedoms and limited government. Lord knows we need that about now.
"Rand Paul vs Hillary Clinton"
Pray tell, name one accomplishment Hillary garnered as Secretary of State. Name one foriegn policy objective we even came close to attaining under her leadership. Now, name one debacle. Or two. Or three. Or four. The list is quite long, I assure you.
both parties have the also-rans that have been out there at least once. I vote Democrat and if Hillary is the one, she gets my vote. However, Andrew Cuomo might be a good choice also. I like Joe Biden, but he is a bit old and won't get any serious traction.
VOTE OUT ALL DEMOCRATS
save the country
Maybe everyone needs to change their brainwashed minds and look at people other than the republican or democratic parties. Libertarian or independents are way more in line with the American public. Both dems and repubs have gone too far right and left. Let's get someone who simply wants what is best for us and our country!
The country will not survive Hillary
If Hillary C. runs I'm with you all Repub's.
Please name one thing Hillary has done that would qualify her to be POTUS? Im not asking for a list just name one thing?
I've voted Democrat all my life. But the GOP has my vote, as long as it's Paul or Cruz. I'm old enough to know that the Democratic party that elected JKF is very close to what the Tea Party is today, once you strip away tbe mtyhs created by the State Controlled Media.