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Paul, Carson Are Now Hillary’s Closest GOP Challengers

Monday, June 23, 2014

Hillary Clinton earns 45% to 50% of the vote against six leading Republicans in potential 2016 presidential matchups, running best against Texans Rick Perry and Ted Cruz and poorest against Rand Paul and Dr. Ben Carson. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, once the GOP front-runner, now makes the weakest showing. 

New Rasmussen Reports national telephone surveying of Likely U.S. Voters finds that Clinton leads Cruz, a U.S. senator and Tea Party stalwart, 50% to 37%. She holds a similar 50% to 36% lead over Perry, the Lone Star State governor who is expected to make a second run for the GOP nomination in 2016. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Paul, a Kentucky senator and another Tea Party favorite, and newcomer Carson, the retired neurosurgeon who’s a growing critic of the Obama administration, run just seven points behind Clinton. She bests Paul by a 46% to 39% margin and Carson 45% to 38%. Christie, on the other hand, now trails Clinton by 14 - 47% to 33%.

Just after Christie’s decisive reelection as governor in November, he and the former secretary of State were in a near tie - Clinton 43%, Christie 41%. But the subsequent and lingering “Bridgegate” scandal have clearly hurt Christie’s standing both nationally and at home.

Florida Senator Marco Rubio who stumbled last year with his support for an unpopular immigration reform measure runs 11 points behind Clinton - 47% to 36%.

A separate survey in early March found Clinton with a 47% to 33% lead over another possible Republican candidate, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.

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Three surveys of 1,000 Likely Voters each were conducted on June 14-15, June 16-17 and June 20-21, 2014 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error for each survey is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Clinton’s favorables are down slightly from her years as secretary of State, but 81% of voters think she is likely to be the Democratic nominee if she runs for the presidency in 2016.

Among Likely Republican Voters, Paul is the top vote-getter against Clinton with 79% support, followed by Cruz at 75% and Carson with 74%. Seventy-one percent (71%) of GOP voters favor Perry in a matchup with Clinton, while Rubio earns 68% support and Christie 66% among their fellow Republicans.

Christie and Paul ran almost even for their party’s presidential nod among Republican voters last November.

Among Likely Democratic Voters, Clinton earns 82% to 90% support against the six Republicans, running strongest against Cruz and Christie.

Voters not affiliated with either major political party are closely divided in all six matchups, with Clinton leading by two to six points against Rubio, Christie, Cruz and Perry. Paul and Carson both have a four-point edge over Clinton among these voters.

While Carson is black, he does not fare any better than his fellow Republicans among black voters.

Questions have been raised about Clinton’s health, and 38% of all voters believe declared presidential candidates should release at least their most recent medical records to the public. But that compares to 73% who think all presidential candidates should release at least their most recent tax returns.

Forty-six percent (46%) think the circumstances surrounding the murder of the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans in Benghazi, Libya in 2012 will hurt Clinton if she runs for president, but 38% disagree.

When thinking about this year’s elections, 37% of GOP voters now say the Tea Party will hurt the Republican Party, while 33% believe it will help. But 75% still believe it is at least somewhat important for Republicans in Congress to work with the Tea Party.

Additional information from this survey and a full demographic breakdown are available to Platinum Members only.

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