Poll: Paul, Huckabee Lead GOP Hopefuls for 2016

Monday, 31 Mar 2014 02:21 PM

By Aaron Stern

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Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee lead the field of potential 2016 Republican presidential candidates, according to a poll released Saturday.

Huckabee and Paul each won support from 13 percent of likely Republican voters when asked whom they would vote for if the 2016 Republican primary were held today. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush was close behind with 11 percent, while New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz each received 9 percent.

Rand Paul tallied 13 percent again when respondents were asked which candidate they thought could defeat Hillary Clinton in the general election, while Huckabee's support slipped to 8 percent. Christie scored 13 percent, Bush got 8 percent, and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio earned 9 percent.

Chris Wilson, CEO of WPA Opinion Research, which conducted the survey, said the poll suggests Republicans haven't learned the lessons of elections past, according to The Washington Times.

"Christie is clearly not the first choice among GOP voters overall, but when you look at which candidate Republicans believe can beat Hillary Clinton there is evidence that the theory a moderate Republican can beat a liberal Democrat still holds some sway," Wilson said. "It’s a shame some Republicans haven’t learned the lessons of nominating moderate candidates like Bob Dole, John McCain, or Mitt Romney."

The poll shows continued strong support for Huckabee, who topped a similar January poll after his buzz-generating speech at the Republican National Committee winter meeting, when he accused Democrats of insulting women by "making them believe that they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing for them a prescription each month for birth control because they cannot control their libido or reproductive system without the help of the government"

According to The Hill, the WPA poll comes as Paul is assembling a nationwide research committee to assess his viability as a presidential candidate, and as Christie scrambles to rebuild his image after the Bridge-gate scandal.

Christie staffers were accused of causing a three-day traffic jam in September as an act of political retaliation against the mayor of Fort Lee, N.J.

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