A new CBS/New York Times poll has bad news for the man who can only now be called a former frontrunner for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination — Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ).
With 41 percent of Republicans saying they don’t want the governor to run and only 31 percent saying they do, he’s the only leading GOP candidate who has more opposition to his candidacy than support. So who is the frontrunner now?
National Journal‘s Josh Kraushaar argues that it is Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), a man who only entered politics for the first time four years ago. In his first term in the Senate, the son of former congressman and perennial presidential candidate Ron Paul has risen to national prominence with somewhat unconventional views for a Republican, which have conveniently aligned with the party’s intractable anti-Obama agenda.
The new poll shows that the support for Paul’s candidacy among members of his party is at 39 percent, 2 points lower than former Florida governor Jeb Bush. However, 27 percent oppose Bush running compared to 21 percent opposed to Paul, giving the Tea Party hero a decent claim to the frontrunner spot.
“He’s a fundamentally better messenger than Barry Goldwater—[Goldwater’s 1964 campaign slogan] ‘In your heart you know he’s right’ is not very compelling,” Paul’s former campaign manager Jesse Benton told Kraushaar. “Rand is a wonderful communicator, and I think a message of individual liberty can build wide support.”
But being a better messenger for the poster child for Republican electoral disasters isn’t a very compelling message.
Here are five things Republicans will have to consider before they anoint Rand Paul their new standard bearer.
Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr