A new Zogby Analytics poll of likely Republican primary voters in 2016 shows Rand Paul starting to build a lead over better known - and more establishment - GOP figures. The poll of 282 likely and eligible voters in GOP presidential primaries was conducted June 27-29 and has a margin-of-sampling error of +/-6 percentage points.
In the poll, the junior Senator from Kentucky polls 20%, followed by "Establishment" candidates New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush with 13% each. In fourth place is Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker with 8%, then Florida Senator Marco Rubio 7%, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindahl 4%, and New Mexico Governor Suzanna Martinez, Ohio Governor John Kasich, and South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley all with 1% each.
This is the first time a GOP candidate has reached 20% in a crowded field and the first time a Zogby poll has shown someone emerging a bit from the pack. Obviously it is too early to predict outcomes or draw lasting conclusion but here are some points to consider:
On the Democratic side, the Zogby poll of 612 likely Democratic primary voters shows former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton dominating the pack with 52% support. Her closest challengers are Vice President Joe Biden with 8% and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren with 7%. Others posting numbers are Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley and former Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer with 4%, and former Virginia Senator Jim Webb with 3%.
Mrs. Clinton dominates among sub-groups. Her major concern at this point is to not raise expectations so high that she establishes a bar she cannot possibly achieve. This scenario was evident in 1984 when former Vice President Walter Mondale was polling well over 50% in a crowded field. When the Iowa caucuses occurred, he "only" scored 45% of the total vote to Gary Hart's 14% (much better than the pundits and pre-caucus polls) had shown. Hart skyrocketed for a bit until Mondale regained his footing.
Perhaps most telling from the Democratic poll is that Sen. Warren is well behind among self-described liberals.