Guy Benson


For all the grief Rubio's endured from the conservative base over his flawed immigration legislation, he's still hanging on to second place in the 2016 sweepstakes -- sandwiched between two moderates.  RINOmentum? 

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that Christie earns 21% support when Republican voters are asked whom they would vote for if the party’s primary in their state were held today. Florida Senator Marco Rubio runs a close second with 18% of the GOP vote, followed by former Florida Governor Jeb Bush at 16% and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul with 15% of the vote. Congressman Paul Ryan, the unsuccessful Republican vice presidential candidate in 2012, picks up 13% of the Republican vote, with Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker dead last at six percent (6%). Just three percent (3%) prefer another candidate, and eight percent (8%) are undecided.


Conspicuously absent from the list of options: Ted Cruz and Bobby Jindal.  I'm slightly perplexed by Scott Walker's standing in this survey, especially vis-a-vis Jeb, who hasn't held elective office since 2007.  Sure, Bush did a nice job governing a battleground state a number of years ago, but Walker's running a purple state now -- and he's been pounding the Left into submission at every turn.  He trails Christie by double digits?  Incidentally, I've heard a strong rumor that Paul Ryan -- whose numbers among national Republicans are stronger than anyone's -- is unlikely to run if Walker jumps in, and vice versa.  In any case, Christie haters (I'm not one for a number of reasons) can take solace in the fact that even though the New Jersey governor leads the pack here, he's also the candidate who receives the highest negative marks from respondents.  In other words, he's a lot of people's first choice, but he's quite a few folks' last choice, too.  Back to the Pew numbers I referenced in connection with Paul Ryan.  The House Budget Committee Chairman enjoys the best favorables by a significant margin, but even Christie's sitting pretty at +17:


 

The guy with the most upside, at least in that poll, is Cruz.  Meanwhile, PPP's latest 2016 survey, setting aside the idiotic George Zimmerman trolling (he's an Obama-supporting Democrat anyway), produced a markedly different result:

Rand Paul sits ahead of the field at 16%, his highest numbers since April, and the first time he has held sole possession of first place. Behind him are Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, and Paul Ryan, all at 13%. This is a slight drop for Bush and Christie, who last month had both led with 15%. Just after that is Ted Cruz with 12%, a huge increase from 7% in May. Rounding out the frontrunners is Marco Rubio, who continues to slide in the polls, pulling in 10%. This is less than half of the 21% of the vote he received back in April.

What lessons can we derive from this jumbled, disparate data about a field that doesn't even exist yet?  Let's go with none -- aside from the fact that polling three years in advance of any election is good for clicks, but predictive of nothing.  If you somehow have an appetite for in-depth analysis of what these very early numbers mean, read this.  Personally, I can't stomach it yet.

Guy Benson

Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Senior Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson.

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography