Poll Shows Rand Paul and Marco Rubio Best Positioned Against Hillary

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Yes, it’s 18 months until the 2016 election, so head-to-head matchup polls don’t really matter right now. But over the next 8 months, Republicans have to decide who will face Hillary Clinton. They’re primarily deciding that question on ideological grounds, but electability should be a big factor too, and today we have a new national poll that suggests Rand Paul and Marco Rubio have the best shot.

Thursday’s release from Quinnippiac University shows that not only does Paul get the most support of any Republican in a general election contest with Clinton, but he also holds her own support down to 46%. However, Marco Rubio holds her even lower, 45%, but his own support is also lower than Paul’s in that matchup, 41%. Both are within the 3.8% margin of error for the Republican-only questions.



A second question reinforces why both Paul and Rubio’s already strong support within striking distance of Hillary is only likely to grow. Hillary has a -2 favorability rating, with only 8% having no opinion or response. That means that 45% of voters like her, 47% don’t, and there’s almost no one else left to make up their mind. She’s been a national figure for more than 30 years. Everyone knows who she is and already has an opinion of her. Her support is capped.

Most of the Republicans, of course, are newer to the national stage and far less known. Paul has an even favorability rating; just as many approve as disapprove. But 32% are unsure. A third of the country doesn’t know him yet, so his support (and opposition, of course) is likely to grow as the election approaches. Rubio has a slightly better rating, +4, with 28% favorable and 24% unfavorable, and even more with no opinion yet, 46%.

It’s an odd thing that nearly a third and a half of voters don’t have an opinion of Paul and Rubio respectively, but 41-42% are willing to support them over Hillary.

Below Paul and Rubio there are many candidates with worse matchups against Hillary but also plenty of room to gain support as more people get to know them. And then there are three candidates with such abysmal favorability ratings that Republicans would be committing Goldwateresque suicide by nominating them, and without the grassroots movement building optimism.

National joke Donald Trump is only only person who puts Hillary at 50%, and it’s a wonder she even stays that low. A whopping 69% of voters have unfavorable opinions of Trump, with only 10% having no opinion. His 32% support in the general matchup is literally 2/3 people who like him and 1/3 who just want to watch the world burn.


More serious candidate Chris Christie, who probably should have run in 2012 instead, now has a 46% disapproval rating, nearly matching Hillary. Even worse is his appalling support among Republicans. Only 41% of Republicans think favorably of him, while 27% remain unfavorable. Only Trump has less Republican support, and, well, he’s Trump. Someone with that low a ceiling in a year when Republican options are nearly limitless isn’t even worth considering.


And then there’s the presumptive nominee. Jeb Bush is currently in the top tier of candidates, with an overwhelming 10% first-choice support among Republican candidates. But he fares just as poorly against Clinton as any of the also-rans, 10 points below her. His unfavorable rating of 44% is nearly as bad as Christie’s, and 20% of Republicans don’t think highly of him either.


So of course it’ll be Jeb, right?

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