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. rod knoxx

    finally! i may have the chance to vote FOR someone rather than against obama, kerry, gore, clinton...Rubio, Cruz or Palin would get my votes too! Rand should lose the n, cuz he is RAD....sorry, that was dumb.

    March 16, 2014 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  2. Coffee Party

    Time for DEMS to stop picking corporate bought candidates.

    Vote for Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders.

    Either of them will easily defeat Rand Paul or Rick Perry.

    March 16, 2014 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  3. Shaflich

    The next Reagan??? Really! That is definitely not what we need ever! We didn't need the first one. We need a president with a backbone. You know, one that will do what the people want, not the special interests.

    March 16, 2014 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  4. straightstreet1

    Rand Paul won the CPAC poll, the Drudge Report Poll, the National Republican Leadership poll and now this poll. There is a clear winner. Rand Paul is one of the few who want to UPHOLD the Constitution. Go, Rand, Go!

    March 16, 2014 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  5. freokin

    Clinton is a disaster. She achieve nothing major during her tenure as Sec of State, and stirr up more trouble in the South China Seas. Her toughness is folly and may cause war. America cannot be as tough now as the balance of power have shifted to make US relatively weaker. Hope she don't run US into the ditch like G W Bush!

    March 16, 2014 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  6. Steve

    The GOP has zero chance of winning with any of these candidates. As long as it continues to put forward people with 18th century social views, they will continue to lose. This was done before it started.

    March 16, 2014 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  7. Gato

    You're joking, right? Huckabee? Paul? Those guys have zero chance, and Ryan not much of one. GOP needs anybody but these guys.

    March 16, 2014 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  8. Steve

    CMartel, if you really think that Rand Paul could lay a glove on Hillary Clinton in a general election, you're spending too much time in Colorado, smoking what's legal there now! She would wipe him in a national race.

    March 16, 2014 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  9. Reggie jones

    "...They are dead..! Our Ambassador in BENGHAZI is dead.....What difference does it make! " Hillary Clinton quote.

    March 16, 2014 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  10. Sean

    A lot of deluded morons in these comments. How stupid do you have to be to support a loser like Rand Paul or believe he would have a prayer in a GE? Can someone tell me ONE thing that freaky haired nutjob has accomplished that qualifies him to be president? He grandstands constantly but I've never actually seen him do anything. Both him and his supporters are on another planet.

    March 16, 2014 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  11. JJ

    SIXTEEN PERCENT! That's Paul's "top"? BWAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAH!

    March 16, 2014 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  12. Robert N. constant

    Let us examine these Republicans. Rand Paul and Ron Paul have both voiced support for the Tea Party darling Snowden. Rubio and Cruz have both claimed their fathers escaped Castro's Cuba. Both fathers left before Castro came to power. Cruz's father fought for Castro, then deserted and BRIBED his way out of Cuba. Ryan, the good Catholic , is now our of sync with Vatican teachings on the need to help the poor and lay off social issues. Ryan has also made reading the materialistic atheist Ayn Rand compulsory for his Congressional interns. Piyush Jindal (aka Bobby) has denied almost 250,000 Louisiana poor people the right to have health care. He has sued people for publishing that information . It is in the courts. Chris Christie is wallowing in scandal in New Jersey. The corruption charges swirling around him are amazing. He has graveyards in his closet not skeletons. He is the lobbyists who made it possible for Bernie Madoff to swindle investors out of their life savings. Perry of Texas has actually suggested secession and openly attacked the rights of women in Texas. Gingrich was having an affair with his own congressional intern when he went after Bill Clinton for the Monica Lewinsky incident. Apparently, this is the best the Republican Party has to offer. How sad!

    March 16, 2014 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  13. MVanHorn

    Rand Paul & Trey Gowdy for a landslide win.

    March 16, 2014 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  14. Ancient Texan

    The election is 2 years and 9 months away; I believe I can wait awhile yet before I get too excited about the eventual nominee. Rand Paul has inherited his dad's juvenile supporters and will win straw polls when they congregate. There is a serious patriotic American out there somewhere.

    March 16, 2014 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  15. Sam

    This article is stupid and seems to be fixated on Ron Paul's showing in past polls. First of all, Ron Paul actually won more delegates in the past 2 cycles than most of the other candidates who ran. Second, how was Ron Paul going to gain any traction when CNN and others had a total blackout on his campaign and message? Ron Paul had a consistent 8% support (same as the much hyped Chris Christie now), but could break out because the news media treated him as a non-entity.

    March 16, 2014 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  16. IpseCogita

    Rand Paul can not get nominated. Most republicans want as big a government as Democrats, just it a different way. They would vote for Clinton before they'd vote for a libertarian.

    March 16, 2014 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  17. eddie

    I like Rand Paul, not because he's conservative, but because he doesn't get involved where he government shouldn't. He has fully stated that he is pro-life, but doesn't believe government should be involved in the matter. This type of mindset is important; whether it be abortion or gay marriage, where government doesn't because the moral authority and for that I respect his decision making.

    March 16, 2014 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  18. JD

    If I have to choose between these 2 its Paul. And only because I can never forget Hillary's face during the binladen raid. She was horrified. She just does not have what it takes to lead this country – balls.

    March 16, 2014 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  19. Ken

    I just love how CNN blatantly lies about polls. Ron Paul not only topped several polls, but won the RNC delegates. Hence why the RNC had to steal it and not allow delegates to vote.

    March 16, 2014 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  20. Roger Ogilvy Thornhill

    rand paul? are the gop seriously going to just GIVE another presidential election away? i don't think so

    March 16, 2014 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  21. DJohnston

    Lord knows who will win in this country. People seem more concerned with party and personality or race. I'm amazed that many people who are so upset with Obama don't really understand what he has done or hasn't done. And I've seen many people support Paul Ryan, but they don't realize he wants to make significant cuts to Medicare. Perhaps the first thing we need to do to get our country in order is to develop an informed electorate.

    March 16, 2014 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  22. Gil

    I find it interesting that Dr. Ben Casey, Herman Cain, and Sarah Palin didn't make CNN's cut but all have significant followings. And also conspicuously absent is the RINO bridge-blocking New Jersey governor. I'd be interesting in seeing just what form this poll took. On the democrat side, Hillary seems to be significantly in the lead, but will Benghazi come back to hurt her? Next two years are going to be interesting. One thing, though, of importance is that it may be a long, long time before a relatively unknown gets elected again after the Obama presidency.

    March 16, 2014 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  23. Katie

    Only 801 people polled? Why bother?

    March 16, 2014 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  24. Anonymous

    When it comes to liberty issues... I vote Rand Paul. I am an Independent. Those on the left who disdain the NSA, TSA, Homeland Security and the intrusion of privacy on the Internet should be voting for Rand Paul. Those on the right should be doing the same thing. Stop voting the party line... but then again many of you will no matter what. I don't trust Cruz (his wife works for Goldman Sachs) Besides I feel that he, Bobby Jindal, and a few others are not natural born citizens. If Hillary wins, she is NOT going to change a damn thing from Obama or Bush. Your liberties will continue to be eroded away. She and her husband are globalist puppets. Unfortunately, we don't have much choice in who we select bc they are only puppets for the New World Order and the Elite Banking Cartels. They will NOT allow anyone to win either party slot without their approval. Thus that is why you hear even Faux News promoting: Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Paul Ryan and others and the other Networks pushing Hillary or Biden. Andrew Cuomo is already doing the bidding of the globalists, too.

    March 16, 2014 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  25. No Hillary

    I ask and keep asking and the answer is simple. Please, I mean PLEASE provide me with one accomplishment of Hillary Clinton. Just one. Plenty of failures, not one accomplishment.....especially politically.

    March 16, 2014 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
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