Tags: GOP2016 | Jeb Bush | Marco Rubio | Scott Walker | polls | Marco Rubio | Ted Cruz

Pundits: Little to Glean From Early Polls in GOP 2016 Race

By    |   Monday, 27 April 2015 10:06 AM

Days after Marco Rubio launched his presidential campaign, polls showed the Florida senator vaulting to the top of the Republican primary field, but analysts argue the polls mean very little this early in a race that includes more than 12 potential candidates.

"Republican voters are just starting to tune in, and they start with few allegiances to this year's deep field of candidates. As Republican hopefuls announce their bids and attract media attention, they'll probably get a bounce in the polls. These bumps could easily be enough to give long-shot candidates the lead. But for now — and for a while — it might be wise to tune out the polls altogether," writes Nate Cohn in The New York Times.

In the latest Quinnipiac University poll, Rubio leads the field with 15 percent support among GOP voters, ahead of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush with 13 percent and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker with 11 percent.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who rolled out his own campaign in late March, has the support of 9 percent of primary voters with no other candidate earning above that level. Meanwhile, 14 percent of voters remain undecided.

Rubio, who announced his campaign this month, only polled 5 percent in a Quinnipiac survey taken in March.

When Cruz officially announced his candidacy, he also saw his polling numbers rise and a similar trend can be expected when the other contenders enter the race, says Cohn.

"Jeb Bush and Scott Walker, or even Rick Perry and Chris Christie, could get their own boosts if they enter the race later this spring or summer," he says, noting that Rubio's and Cruz's "surges weren't even that big" and are significant only in a field that remains tight.

It is not uncommon for a candidate to move up in opinion polls after a significant news event, such as a campaign launch or high-profile speech.

"Jeb Bush climbed during December, which is when he announced that he was actively exploring a run for president. Scott Walker saw a more rapid rise during January, when he gave a very well-received speech at the Iowa Freedom Summit.

"Ted Cruz, who isn't likely to actually contend for the nomination, rocketed up when he announced for president in March. Even Rand Paul, who was fairly well-known before his campaign launch in April, rose in the past month," observes Harry Enten of the blog FiveThirtyEight.

"The fact that all these candidates have surged and then dropped (or begun to drop) again and that no one is consistently polling above 15 percent shows how unsettled the GOP field is — not surprising such a long way from the actual voting," he adds.

Monthly or weekly tracking polls can be deceiving and fickle. For example, while Bush is second behind Rubio in the Quinnipiac poll, he also tops the "no way" list. In fact, more Republican voters (17 percent) say they would never vote for the former Florida governor than currently support him (13 percent).

The bump Rubio has received in the horse race opinion polls does not necessarily mean his rise will automatically fade away with the next presidential announcement.

"What makes Rubio strong isn't his polling surge, but that he is well-liked across the party apparatus. He pulls in conservatives with his voting record and moderates with his impressive 2010 Senate victory in Florida, a crucial battleground state. This is all evident in non-horse-race polling. Rubio's net favorability rating among Republicans is near the top of the field," says Enten.

What might be more significant and important over the course of the next months is how well the candidates show in the money polls.

"The [success in polls] at this point is good more for name recognition, but it doesn't mean that voters in Iowa or New Hampshire or South Carolina will turn out for you in a year.

"But the money is very important at this stage in the process," Louis DeSipio, a professor of political science and Latino/Chicano studies at University of California, Irvine, tells Fox News Latino.

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Analysts argue the polls mean very little this early in the GOP 2016 race which includes more than 12 potential candidates.
polls, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, Scott Walker
Monday, 27 April 2015 10:06 AM
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