So, just in case Mitt Romney fails to deliver, Public Policy Polling decided to jump way ahead of things and conducted a poll asking Republican voters who they'd like to see as their candidate in 2016. Surprisingly, two politicians from Florida took the top two spots: Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush. Rubio has a slight lead in the speculatively crowded field, but support for Bush illustrates a sharp ideological divide in the GOP.
- Marco Rubio - 24%
- Jeb Bush - 22%
- Condoleeza Rica - 12%
- Mike Huckabee - 10%
- Chris Christie - 10%
- Paul Ryan - 10%
- Rand Paul - 4%
- Sarah Palin - 3%
- Rick Santorum - 1%
Although Bush has been something of a political mentor to Marco Rubio, the two attract support from two very different parts of the party.
Thirty-four percent of Tea Partiers prefer Rubio, while only 18 percent like Bush; 29 percent of Evangelicals like Rubio; 17 percent prefer Jebbers.
In contrast, 24 percent of moderates prefer Bush, while only 16 percent prefer Rubio. Of "somewhat conservative" Republicans, 27 percent like Bush best, while 21 percent prefer Rubio.
In the most surprising result, 29 percent of Hispanic Republicans prefer Jeb Bush, while only 16 percent prefer Rubio. Identity politics apparently only go so far, and perhaps because Bush's more moderate stance on immigration helps his appeal in the demographic. In fact, Bush leads the pack among all minority voters. Rubio leads among whites.
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That would indicate to some degree that perhaps Bush may be a better candidate heading into a general election. The far right reaches of the party certainly don't hate him (even as he's occasionally criticized them on fear mongering and immigration), but he's just not their favorite.
Either way, the poll shows the Republicans have a deep bench, even if that bench is mostly, and sort of oddly, Florida-based.
Democrats meanwhile overwhelming want Hillary Clinton to run in 2016 at 67 percent. She's said she won't run, and if anything it shows that the Democrats haven't developed much a post-Obama bench. If Clinton doesn't run, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo would be the early favorite with 31 percent.