Fox News Poll: Christie, Bush and Paul are top GOP picks -- today -- for 2016

By Dana Blanton
Published April 16, 2014

Yes, it’s a bit early to talk about the 2016 election. It’s just too much fun not to do it. You’re welcome.

With about 20 months to go before the Iowa precinct caucuses, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul lead the pack for the Republican presidential nomination. Meanwhile, former Sec. of State Hillary Clinton continues to hold a huge lead among Democrats, according to a Fox News poll released Wednesday.

Click here for the poll results.

Three possible GOP candidates capture double-digit support among self-identified Republicans: Christie receives 15 percent, which puts him just ahead of Bush and Paul both at 14 percent.

Next, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan receives nine percent, followed by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio at eight percent, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz at seven percent, and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum each at five percent. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal comes in at two percent.

With 69 percent backing, Clinton remains more than 50 percentage points ahead of Vice President Joe Biden (14 percent) among self-identified Democrats. These results are mostly unchanged since December (Clinton 68 percent, Biden 12 percent).

The other possible Democratic candidates tested receive single-digit support, including Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren at six percent, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo at two percent and Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley at one percent.

2016 Head-to-Head Matchups

Clinton is the wife of former President Bill Clinton, while Bush is the son of former President George H. W. Bush (the 41stpresident) and the brother of former President George W. Bush (the 43rd). How would voters feel if the 2016 race ends up being between another Clinton and Bush? Voters are slightly more likely to say this would mean the political parties are controlled by two family dynasties (42 percent) than to say that matchup would make them feel the parties were offering two strong alternatives (36 percent).

Democrats are more inclined to say “two strong alternatives” (by five points), while Republicans lean toward feeling it would mean the parties are controlled by “two family dynasties” (by 13 points).

If the 2016 election “were held today,” the new poll finds Clinton would best Christie by eight points, and top both Bush and Paul by nine.

By a 54-42 percent margin, voters think Clinton is honest and trustworthy.

Bush also has more voters than not saying he is honest by 49-33 percent.

Voters split on Christie’s honesty: 41 percent say he is, while 41 percent say he isn’t. About one voter in five is unable to rate the honesty of Bush and Christie.

Independents are equally likely to think Clinton (46 percent) and Bush (46 percent) are honest.

More people think Clinton is “too liberal” (39 percent) than think Bush (23 percent) or Christie (18 percent) is “too conservative.” Nearly half think Clinton’s positions on the issues are “about right” (46 percent), while smaller pluralities say the same of Christie (41 percent) and Bush (35 percent).

Many more Democrats think Clinton’s positions are “about right” (78 percent), than Republicans feel that way about Bush (51 percent) and Christie (50 percent).

Overall, Clinton has the highest name recognition of those tested. In addition, by a four-point margin, more voters have a favorable than an unfavorable view of her (49-45 percent). The other candidates each have a net negative rating, which means more voters have an unfavorable than a favorable view of them.

For example, Christie’s rating is 36 percent favorable, 38 percent unfavorable. For Bush it’s 32 percent favorable, 40 percent unfavorable. Some 32 percent view Paul favorably, while 34 percent have an unfavorable opinion. For Cruz it’s 23 percent favorable, 31 percent unfavorable.

Many voters can’t rate the possible Republican candidates tested. In fact, despite his high profile fight against Obamacare last fall, nearly half of voters either have no opinion (13 percent) or have never heard of Cruz (33 percent).

Perhaps not coincidentally, however, Cruz has a robust rating among those who consider themselves part of the tea party movement (60 percent favorable) -- as does Paul (62 percent). Just over half of tea party folks like Bush (51 percent).

Among Republicans, Bush (52 percent), Paul (51 percent favorable) and Christie (46 percent) have higher favorable ratings than Cruz (37 percent).

Clinton receives the highest favorable among independents (44 percent), followed by Paul (35 percent) and Christie (34 percent).

None of these potential candidates has announced their candidacy. Bush said he’ll make a decision by year end.

The Fox News poll is based on landline and cell phone interviews with 1,012 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide and was conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R) from April 13-15, 2014. The full poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points. The results among Democrats and Republicans have an error of plus or minus five points.