Rand Paul's well publicized filibuster last month has vaulted him up the list of Republican contenders in PPP's newest look ahead to the 2016 Presidential contest.
Marco Rubio continues to lead nationally, as he has on all four of our 2016 polls so far. He's at 21% this month, basically the same as 22% the month before the State of the Union address. Rubio's favorability of 62/10 is slightly better than 59/12 in early February. The whole water drinking episode hasn't had any effect on his standing- nor has his stance on immigration reform.
The big move though has come from Paul. In early February he was in 6th place among Republican contenders at just 10%. Now he's vaulted all the way up to 2nd place at 17%. Chris Christie is 3rd at 15% and Paul Ryan and Jeb Bush are tied for 4th at 12%. Rounding out the folks we polled are Rick Santorum at 5%, Bobby Jindal at 4%, Rick Perry at 2%, and Susana Martinez at 1%.
There is a lot of skepticism about Christie from conservative voters. Among those identifying as 'very conservative' 35% see him positively to 36% with a negative opinion. Christie's overall net favorability of +12 at 41/29 ranks him 8th most popular out of the 9 Republicans we looked at, leading only Susana Martinez who is not yet well known on a national level.
Rubio leads the Republicans among conservatives, while Christie has the advantage with moderates. The problem for Christie is that only 19% of primary voters are moderates while 74% are conservatives.
On the Democratic side support for Hillary Clinton to be the party nominee has hit its highest level of support in our national polling since the election last year. 64% of the party's voters want her to be the candidate to 18% for Joe Biden, 5% for Elizabeth Warren, and 3% for Andrew Cuomo with no one else polling above 2%. Clinton has majority support from liberals and moderates, men and women, African Americans, Latinos, and white voters, and voters within every age group that we track.
When it comes to general election match ups Hillary Clinton leads the Republicans we tested against her by margins ranging from 4 to 7 points. Chris Christie comes the closest at 46/42, followed by Rand Paul at 49/43 and then Marco Rubio at 49/42 and Paul Ryan at 50/43. We've consistently found that Christie would be the strongest Republican candidate but the problem for him is that Obama voters (42/24) like him better than Romney voters (36/31), which could making securing the nomination a problem.
Joe Biden does on average 6 points worse than Hillary Clinton in general election match ups against the Republicans. He leads Rubio (46/44), Ryan (48/45), and Paul (47/43), but by narrower margins than Clinton in all three cases. And he actually trails Christie by a pretty large margin at 49/40.
Full results here