GOP 2016 Horserace Frontrunner Is Anybody's Guess

June 05, 2013, 1:00 PM UTC

(Week of 6/1/2013)  There is no simple answer to the question of who is the frontrunner for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016: in the latest Economist/YouGov Poll three Republicans get double-digit support from their party identifiers, and three more are close behind.

The two leading contenders are very different from one another, though each gets the support of 13% of GOP identifiers. GOP Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky takes Tea Party views on many subjects, and opposes government involvement in many areas, both domestic and foreign. Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is an internationalist and appeals to more moderate party members.

Close behind Paul and Rice, with 10% support, is Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the former GOP Vice Presidential nominee, who has led his party on reducing the budget deficit, along with government spending. This is an issue of great concern to Republicans, who have consistently ranked it as their second most important issue, behind the state of the economy overall.

The other leaders include New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who doesn’t necessarily get much support from conservative leaders. In fact, Christie does better with Democrats and Independents asked their choice for 2016 than he does with Republicans. He leads both groups, with 17% of Democrats choosing his as their preference, along with 14% of independents. Paul and Ryan are close to Christie among independents.

The last two GOP “frontrunners” are Floridians, Senator Marco Rubio and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. Each has taken a softer position on immigration reform than have many Republicans, with both supporting pathways to citizenship for those currently in the U.S. illegally. While support for this is growing among Republicans, only 41% of Republicans in this week’s poll favor some kind of pathway.

Economist/YouGov poll archives can be found here

Photo source: Press Association