A new poll that looked at how Florida registered voters would cast their ballots in a 2016 Republican primary, former Gov. Jeb Bush led by about a 2-to-1 margin over other GOP contenders.
Bush leads in the hypothetical GOP contest with 27 percent compared to 14 percent for U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, 11 percent for U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, and 7 percent for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. As for other GOP hypothetical candidates, including U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, none received more than 6 percent.
But when the poll included former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the mix, she beat any potential Republican challenger in a head-to-head match-up, according to the Quinnipiac University survey. In a potential faceoff between the former First Lady and Bush, Clinton snatched 49 percent support compared to 41 percent support for the former governor.
For a potential Hillary Clinton candidacy in Florida, November 2016 can't get here soon enough. Not only does she out point the entire field of potential Democratic wannabes for the party nomination put together, but her favorability numbers among all voters is near 60 percent.
- Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll
"For a potential Hillary Clinton candidacy in Florida, November 2016 can't get here soon enough,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll. "The Republicans angling to oppose Secretary Clinton, should she run, are less known and less liked," he added.
Speaking before an audience recently, Bush said he was thinking about running and jokingly asked someone in the audience to call his mother and try to sell her on the idea.
Barbara Bush has made it clear that she wouldn’t be unhappy if her youngest son decided not to follow in the steps of her husband and oldest son and run for president.
“We've had enough Bushes," she said in an NBC interview last year. She also indicated that U.S. voters would be wise to ignore familiar political dynasties – Clinton, Bush, Kennedy – when choosing a president.
But the Quinnipiac University poll shows that voters are not ready to shut the door on the Bushes and Clintons.
"With former Gov. Jeb Bush making noises about a possible 2016 candidacy, his support among Republicans in the Sunshine State appears to be solidifying,” Brown said. “He still trails Hillary Clinton in a general election match-up, but he is the only potential GOP nominee who gets within single digits of her.”
In a Democratic primary, Clinton would leave others in the dust with 64 percent support, followed by Vice President Joseph Biden with 11 percent and U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts with 6 percent.
The survey looked at more than 1,400 registered voters. The margin of error is plus or minus 2.6 points.
The poll also shows that a majority of Floridians have negative feelings about the job President Barack Obama is doing. He has a 46 to 50 percent job approval rating.
Nationwide, a new Washington Post-ABC News poll looking at the presidential race also showed Clinton beating other candidates, both in her party and the GOP.
In a hypothetical face-off, Clinton leads Jeb Bush 53 percent to 41 percent.
But that poll showed that on the Republican side, the top GOP contenders were within a mere four percentage points of each other.
Sixty-six percent of all Americans say they view the Clinton family favorably, while 54 percent have a favorable opinion of the Bushes, the Post said.
Among Republicans and GOP-leaning independents, Bush and Paul lead with 14 percent.
Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee came in third with 13 percent, followed by U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin at 11 percent and Christie at 10 percent.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.