The Republican field's battle for the 2016 presidential nomination is wide open in the top three critical swing states, a new poll has found.
According to a Quinnipiac University poll
conducted Jan. 22-Feb. 1 of voters in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, Florida is the only state in which former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush holds a clear advantage. He is the narrow front-runner in Pennsylvania and in third place in Ohio.
Specifically, among a list of 12 potential GOP candidates, which excludes former 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney, Bush gets 32 percent support among registered Republicans in Florida, 10 percent support in Ohio, and 12 percent in Pennsylvania.
In Florida, Sen. Marco Rubio comes in second place with 15 percent support, followed by 11 percent for former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.
In Ohio, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is in second place with 11 percent support, while Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul ties Bush for third place at 10 percent.
And in Pennsylvania, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is close behind Bush with 11 percent support, compared to 12 percent for Bush. Huckabee is in third place with 10 percent.
The poll looks at these three swing states, in particular, because since 1960 no candidate has won the presidential race without taking at least two of these three.
"Taken as a whole, there is no clear leader for the Republican presidential nomination in these three critical swing states. Former Gov. Jeb Bush is way ahead in Florida with almost a third of the vote, but no candidate is in comparable situation in Ohio or Pennsylvania," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac Poll, in a statement.
"In fact, four candidates are in low double-digits in Ohio and just three in Pennsylvania. Bush is the only one in double digits in all three states, but barely so."
Among Democrats, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has at least 50 percent support in each of the three states, with Vice President Joe Biden coming in a distant second.
Specifically, Clinton has the support of 61 percent of registered Democrats in Florida compared to 11 percent for Biden. In Ohio, Clinton has 51 percent support and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren is in second place with 14 percent. And in Pennsylvania, Clinton has 54 percent support, followed by Warren at 12 percent.
"The Democratic race is the exact opposite [to the GOP field]. Hillary Clinton has an overwhelming lead and currently no serious challengers. Should she decide not to run, the field could grow like a weed.
"If she stays in, the numbers indicate she has nothing to worry about when it comes to the Democratic nomination."
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