A new poll conducted by Public Policy Polling finds Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) to be the GOP frontrunner for 2016, closely followed by, well, everybody else:
The numbers are: Paul 16, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, and Paul Ryan each at 13, Cruz at 12, Rubio at 10, Rick Santorum and Bobby Jindal at 4, and Susana Martinez at 2. Cruz has proven to be such a darling to the far right that he actually already leads among 'very conservative' voters with 20% to 18% for Paul and 17% for Ryan. Christie gets 24% with 'moderate' identifying Republicans but doesn't do better overall because he's at just 7% with 'very conservative' ones.
While Paul has a slight lead over fellow Republicans, PPP found that he has the worst odds against Hillary Clinton:
She still leads all of the GOP hopefuls but in many of the cases it's by tight margins- 1 point over Chris Christie at 43/42, 2 points over Paul Ryan at 46/44, 3 points over Jeb Bush at 44/41, 5 points over Marco Rubio at 45/40, and 8 points over Rand Paul at 47/39. Obviously it's early but you can see a picture here that's been painted in many key Senate races over the last two cycles- the person with the most support from Republicans is also the weakest general election candidate.
What does it say about the electorate (or maybe PPP's polling?) that Paul Ryan would do better against Clinton than Paul? Maybe nothing. Still, color me surprised that a guy who's made absolutely no overtures toward personal freedom would do better than Paul against a Democrat.