March 16th, 2014
08:30 AM ET
9 years 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.

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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. Rafi Zavala

    Latino and voting for Rand. Get used to it.

    March 16, 2014 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  2. Rafi Zavala

    Latino and $upporting Rand Paul. Get used to it. Sorry, don't want to be on the Democrat controlled plantation.

    March 16, 2014 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  3. Jerry Schull

    Look folks,
    When you are looking at political parties you really have to look for the lesser evil. They are both corrupt, and not really worthy of our support.

    I'll give you an example. Congress should have taken Cannabis off of the Schedule I list as soon as they discovered medical uses. This was discovered YEARS ago. Neither party and the President has proposed this. This is why I call government corrupt. They are bought and paid for by big Pharma, and for that matter, big Military Suppliers. Even the Supreme Court with it's Citizens United decision in 2010, proved that the Conservative Majority was definitely in the pocket of big business and multi-national businesses.

    Folks, at one time we were a shining light for the world. Our version of capitalism was cherished and mimicked. BUT that version has proven defective due to massive deregulation and corruption in every single branch of government. The USA Government has a NUMBER 1 duty to protect US citizens, not Israel, not our NATO allies and not some Oil company. They have failed in this time and time again. Our model of government is a poor model to follow. The people have lost control.

    March 16, 2014 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  4. boomgen

    liberals love tal;king smack on the net bc in real life they cant afford their own healthcare

    March 16, 2014 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  5. GOP = Greed Over People

    Any of the 4 "top tier" GOP candidates will be a cake walk for the Dems in the general election.

    Great work with the GOP "outreach" program, it is working, the "cream is rising to the top"( there is a truer analogy, but it wouldn't get printed)!

    March 16, 2014 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  6. Westcoast

    Why r people so afraid of a Clinton and Paul matchup. This would be really interesting debate. They are polar opposites.

    March 16, 2014 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  7. dina

    Kentucky is one of the most poor, uneducated, backward states in the nation. When Paul has proven to improve the lives of the people in his state, then he can try and lead an entire country.

    March 16, 2014 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  8. rs

    For the Republicans Rand Paul may be an acceptable candidate, but I have a very hard time seeing the majority of voters accepting some for President of these United States who supports discrimination; ending voting rights for all Americans; ending Social Security; and the ongoing promotion of socialism for the rich and corporate classes. No one wants a President who cannot think for himself- even his NSA lawsuit against the President was plagiarized. To be completely frank, I don't see Republicans accepting his anti-war positions- their military lobbyists won't stand for it.

    When the game really begins, the GOP will have to eliminate the insane from their candidate ranks- the Perrys, Bachmanns, Palins, Cruzes and ultimately, Mr. Paul and their ilk from the ballot if they really wish to win, and not just make a statement about their dysfunction. The will also have to hope that these loons don't damage their brand worse than they already have.Who ever they put up will have to have an approval of 85% of GOP voters or higher.

    March 16, 2014 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  9. Andrew

    If that's the best they got.. we're screwed. 8 years of Hillary. Can't be any worse that Obama I suppose.

    March 16, 2014 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  10. Thomas

    Good golly people it is nearly 3 years to the election. Only a fool would try to see that far in the future. Hell, Hillary could completely miss 3 more affairs by her husband in that time frame.

    March 16, 2014 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  11. ObviousTruth

    Rand Paul is a better choice than anyone for president at this point, but he's still just a lap dog to the republican party.

    We don't even need leaders to run our lives, but if at this point we have to have them, the best choice is someone without a political party.

    March 16, 2014 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  12. rs


    this is the worst republican party; in the history of this country. they should sit this one out.
    The Republican party of my early days started heading for the exit when they nominated Ronald Reagan. As they slowly filed out the door over the next 16 years, they headed for the parking lot. With the turn of the Century, the big bus arrived and the party started down the road of hatred for our country, picking up the religious extremist who added even more hatred. In 2009 they stopped by the sanitarium to pick up the fractured defectors of the Libertarian. The party at that point proceeded to no longer represent any of the Republican principles and headed straight over the cliff.
    Exactly- that's when the GOP lost me. Their shift from solid foreign policy, and fiscal conservatism to the lunacy of their culture wars and wasting $billions on wars, shut-downs and "investigations" simply means they are about the game, and not about leadership.

    March 16, 2014 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  13. rs

    liberal disease
    Republicans lose because they promise to put people back to work and the welfare class is enjoying themselves too much under democratic rule...
    No, they lose when they promise "jobs, jobs, jobs" and instead deliver the most radical (and un-Constitutional) anti-abortion laws ever seen.
    Seriously? Aside from legislating away women's rights, name one accomplishment of the GOP from the last 6 years. Welfare Queens? Try the Republican members of Congress on for size.

    March 16, 2014 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  14. TheSadTruth

    The GOP has to figure out what to do with itself before it can field a candidate that has a hope of winning the election. Right now they are just a tank of starving piranhas, getting ready to tear into each other. 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.

    March 16, 2014 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  15. rs

    It IS this simple: until the GOP can run a candidate that supports the majority of Americans, they are doomed. And, right now they have women-haters; child-haters; people who would kick the elderly to the curb; people who would bring back discrimination as legal; anti-voters; anti- education who wrap this up as being "freedom".
    These are deeply sick individuals.

    March 16, 2014 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  16. Linda

    Run Hillary .......please run in 2016. Any GOP candidate projected to win is a socialist for the rich and be damned for the poor and middle class.

    March 16, 2014 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  17. GOP = Greed Over People

    "Oh, and I wouldn't write off Rand Paul just yet. Remember that millions of evangelical christians sat out the last election because Romney was a Morman, they will be out in force if the candidate is Rand Paul"

    This is the same Rand Paul that was known as "Aqua Buddha", in college.

    I am unable to follow the logic you used to arrive at this conclusion.


    March 16, 2014 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  18. Michael

    elections over. really stop kidding yourselves republicans

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

    "Rand Paul is a better choice than anyone for president at this point, but he's still just a lap dog to the republican party."

    Less than five years ago, Rand Paul was an optometrist railing against the government HE now feels HE is qualified to run.

    A better choice?

    March 16, 2014 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  20. frank thomas

    Hillary will be a fantastic president, her vp can be one of the Castro brothers from Texas

    March 16, 2014 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  21. PaulyD

    Rand Paul and Paul Ryan LMAO
    Good luck with that, GOTP!!!

    March 16, 2014 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  22. Jimmy

    none of them can win an election.

    March 16, 2014 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  23. Richard

    The Republicans have no real, viable candidate, because they have no real, viable vision for the people of our country.
    If Clinton is the Democrat candidate, what does she stand for except more of the status quo?
    What I found interesting about this poll was that Bernie Sanders was not mentioned at all. What would it say about the U.S. if
    come November 2016 we see Rand Paul v. Bernie Sanders...

    March 16, 2014 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  24. lividemerald2013

    Hillary Clinton is cold, callous, and dangerous. She is the Xenia Onatopp of the Democratic Party.

    March 16, 2014 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  25. RCM

    Flavor of the month 30 more months to go

    March 16, 2014 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
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