So who are the GOP winners and losers in CNN/ORC’s latest poll? Let’s take a look:
Clearly, the two candidates sitting pretty right now are Jeb Bush and Donald Trump. The former jumped six percentage points over the course of the past four weeks, while the latter quadrupled his level of support during that same period, according to the survey. This is no coincidence: Both candidates recently announced their presidential bids, and therefore both have capitalized on all the free (if not always positive) media attention. A month from now, however, it will be interesting to see if The Donald is still in the top tier, especially since he is still reeling from a bevy of negative attacks after uncharitably stereotyping Mexican immigrants.
On the other hand, several candidates have fallen precipitously since CNN/ORC released a national survey. Most noticeably, Sen. Marco Rubio's (R-FL) status as a frontrunner has all but disappeared. He’s polling at a measly six percent, dropping eight percentage points in just four weeks. No candidate (not even Republican Gov. Scott Walker, who fell just four percentage points to six percent overall) is in as bad shape as Rubio. The silver lining, however, is that it’s much too early for this poll to be a political death sentence. Rubio can still recover.
Finally, and not surprisingly, none of the candidates come close to defeating Hillary Clinton in the general election. The candidate who does best against her head-to-head is Jeb Bush, and he trails her by...13 percentage points. And while not every serious contender was tested against her, if the nominal GOP frontrunner, Jeb Bush, is trailing her by double-digits already, clearly Republicans have their work cut out for them. They must finally begin convincing the public, collectively, that Hillary Clinton should not be the next president of the United States.
Luckily, it's only 2015.