Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is far ahead of other potential Republican candidates for the 2016 presidential nomination, a new CNN/ORC poll shows,
with nearly a quarter of Republicans surveyed picking him after his announcement that he is "actively exploring"
Twenty-three percent of the 453 potential GOP voters surveyed between Dec. 18-21, including 244 who identified themselves as Republican and 209 as Independents who lean Republican, said they would pick Bush, reports CNN.
That puts him at 10 points ahead of his nearest potential competitor, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who netted 13 percent of the GOP voters.
Dr. Ben Carson placed third, with 7 percent of the voters, and Sen. Rand Paul and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee tied for fourth place with six percent.
The margin of error with both the Republican and Democratic sides of the poll was plus or minus 4.5 points, leaving Bush still several points ahead of Christie.
The numbers show that support has dropped for all potential candidates except for Bush and Christie since the last CNN/ORC survey in November. That poll put Bush ahead with 14 percent, followed by Carson with 11 percent and Christie and Rep. Paul Ryan in fourth with 9 percent.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the GOP's 2012 nominee, was not included among the choices in the new CNN poll. Romney, though, came out ahead of Bush in a Zogby Analytics poll
this past week.
On the Democratic side of the poll, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton remains the clear frontrunner for the Democratic nomination. Two-thirds of the 469 potential Democratic voters polled, including 299 who identified as Democrat and 170 as Independents leaning Democrat, picked Clinton.
Meanwhile, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren trailed Clinton to place second with only 9 percent of the voters, and Vice President Joe Biden placed in third with 8 percent.
The poll also showed that some comments Bush has made that proved controversial in conservative circles don't matter as much as feared to voters. The Republicans polled were evenly divided on whether Bush's stance on allowing illegal immigrants to stay in the United States would affect their votes.
GOP primary voters are about evenly split on whether his support for allowing some illegal immigrants to stay in the United States makes them more or less likely to support him, has no difference on their opinion of him. They were also split on whether Bush's support of Common Core educational standards would affect their vote.
The poll also found that GOP voters are more concerned about having a nominee that can win the race, with 69 percent saying they want someone who will beat the Democratic candidate, while 29 percent of the voters were more purists and want somebody who reflects their conservative values.
The poll also matched up potential GOP candidates against Clinton, and Bush came out best, trailing the Democratic powerhouse by 13 points overall among the 1,011 adults surveyed. The overall sample carried a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.
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