March 16th, 2014
08:30 AM ET
7 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. No More Of The Same

    No more of the same people. I can't believe Paul is at the top for Republicans and Clinton for the Democrats. 63% voted for Clinton, what don't you get about where this country has been and where it's heading. She is a liar and contributed to this mess that we are in with Obama. When it comes to Paul, please like we want this guy as our leader.

    Kick out all this people and let's put some better candidates forward. We the people can start campaigns to put better people on the ballots and get rid of this R and D losers. Wake up America, this country can no longer afford to have these bums in office. This is our last change. Find meaningful people to gather signatures for and let's take back our country.

    March 16, 2014 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  2. Flannigan McGaffigan

    Because Rand Paul has the vision and Scott Walker has proven so, this dying country's only solutions are a Rand Paul/Scott Walker ticket or...revolution. None other are feasible.

    March 16, 2014 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  3. Richard Cameron

    If you want more government paternalism, more military adventurism, more corporatocracy, more rent seeking, influence peddling and more domestic surveillance – Hillary's your gal. She's a fake, pandering progressive – but a genuine elitist tool of the shadow government and the Wall Street Casino bosses.

    March 16, 2014 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  4. aaron

    With Repubs running another slate of extremists, I hope Dems pick someone besides Biden. He would turn an easy win into an uphill battle. Hillary would make an excellent president...she's actually intelligent. Most of the politicians we've seen in the last 2 decades have followed the axiom of the loudest in the room is the dumbest. And, we've had some extremely loud politicians, with Bachmann and Palin being the prime examples.

    March 16, 2014 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  5. Zac

    Rand is probably the best bet. Dems are going to go insane because they've programmed themselves to blame all of their issues in life on the Tea Party, but in terms of appealing to Republicans and some independents, Rand Paul should do fairly well. He's not Ron, of course, but he's about as close as we're going to get.

    At the very least, he'd have my vote over Hillary.

    March 16, 2014 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  6. sanityisrare

    Joe Biden for Prez...!!

    March 16, 2014 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  7. RomneyLostIcantBelieveIt

    Hillary is probably the nations choice, as everyone is still nostalgic for the 90's and the golden era of America (Even if Ronald Reagan and George H W Bush had more to do with its creation, reversing Ford & Carter idiocies), Rand Paul is extremely close, and Ted Cruz would be next after that. If Hillary decides not to run, the Democrats–as it stands today, have no chance to win 2016. If Hillary is smart, she'll announce her presidency before the November midterms–as it might pump up Democrat voters, who failed to show up in Florida the other day.

    March 16, 2014 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  8. roofinreality

    If Hillary runs, she'll get the nomination.
    It's actually more interesting to think of who her running mate might be. If someone credible, she'll likely win for the Repubs will pound on Benghazi and Health Care.
    The public has moved on from Syria in that regard and definitely doesn't want their loved ones kicked off health plans.
    Repubs have to come up with some solutions and not just attacks. For, while it will get those already inclined to vote Repub to actually vote Repub, they aren't attracting the indies.

    March 16, 2014 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  9. Elliott Carlin

    We need an adult like Rand Paul in the White House–so he's not 'cool' like Barry, or macho like Bush or a womanizer like Bill. But he knows the role of government and he is a lover of liberty. Good enough for me.

    March 16, 2014 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  10. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    The debt ceiling was just the start. Can't wait to see Grover Norquist and the GOBP stuff Jeb Bush down the tea potty's throats 2012 Mitt the twit style.

    March 16, 2014 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  11. DJ

    The election is just a sideshow for what really will determine the winner....Demographics

    March 16, 2014 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  12. Jack

    Rand Paul is an idiot. We as a nation are dumed if we even think this guy is worth to be considered for president. What happened with people like George Washington or Lincoln, people that had a vision and a future for this country. Someone that can realy give everyone a purpose of where we want to be 50 years from now.

    Out leader are failing on doing any of this because they are to bussy of thinking of themselves and their pockets rather tan the American people. Shame on all of them.

    NO politician has impressed me so far!!!!!

    March 16, 2014 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  13. Douglas Gray

    This poll fails to mention how he would do against Hlllary Clinton

    March 16, 2014 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  14. wcnea567

    What we don't need is another Reagan. He and Bush senior more than quadrupled our national debt in just 12 years.

    March 16, 2014 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  15. mikeinsa

    I thought Chris Christie or some other RINO had been picked to lose to Hillary? CNN is not with the program.

    The Tea Party might not be the political H bomb, but they could provide the lethal shot to the crazy progressives.

    March 16, 2014 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  16. dzerres

    Ooooh, 16% – that's almost overwhelming – an overwhelming yawn.

    March 16, 2014 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  17. readerpan

    The republican party is like a crazy version of the Federalist Party; anyone seen a Federalist lately?

    March 16, 2014 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  18. MaryM

    Sorry, Rand is to much of a nut job like his father

    March 16, 2014 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  19. Pull Urownweight

    Wonder if we can vote to secede to Canada.

    March 16, 2014 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  20. Freeurmind

    Ryan had his chance and he blew it. So did Huckabee and Perry. The need to step aside and quit clogging up the field.

    March 16, 2014 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  21. R. A.

    Well, this should be a fun election. The DNC seems to hope to repeat its success in using Obama's race as a bludgeon, this time with Hillary and her gender. It might work....but Hillary, unlike Obama, has a record. She is not a blank canvas uoon which the hopeful can paint their personal saviour(or santa). We shall see.

    Also, I have to laugh at the Liberal/Leftist/Progressives in this discussion and their repeated references to the "far right". There are very, very few people actually inhabiting the "far right" of the political spectrum in this country. What you think of as "far right" is actually right/center-right, and in fact the entire right-wing in the U.S. has undergone a slow, stately drift toward the left since it's founding. But you people appear to be under the impression that various groups of Americans have gone crazy and ran way over to the right(ex: tea party).
    But the Tea Party did not suddenly stand up and shift right. They stood up and stayed put, standing where they have always been...which is right/center-right.

    The reason it looks so far to the right to you is because you all have been bookin' it leftward for quite a long time now; moving with determination and purpose and attempting to drag the entire country with you.
    If you think I'm wrong, think again: You call yourselves "progressives" after all, implying a progression, a movement, etc...your movement just happens to be leftward.

    March 16, 2014 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  22. DaveErt

    Great, more career politicians. Nothing is going to change with any of these candidates. It is a mere illusion of choice that they hope will keep the people complacent.

    March 16, 2014 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  23. A

    Rand Paul and the others are too weak to be leaders. Their solution to conflict resolution is to back down and surrender to the democrats. The Republicans need a Vladimir Putin, a bully who fights the enemy until they are beaten to a pulp. We don't need to compromise with tyrants who are destroying the country. We need to take the country back, by whatever means necessary.

    March 16, 2014 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  24. Name

    I'll vote for anyone except for a far left idealoge socialist communinist
    Hillary will just pick up where Barry left off
    if you democrats want another dictator then vote for her, warning won't be any money left for give aways, u can bet Barry will print as much money as he can get away with, US currency will be no more very soon
    Mission accomplished Mr dictator

    March 16, 2014 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  25. Praenestrian

    If Rand can keep from being arkancided he could turn things around. Hillary? Just more of the same.

    March 16, 2014 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
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