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Zogby: Rand Paul Takes Dramatic Lead in New 2016 GOP Presidential Poll

John Zogby, namesake and founder of Zogby Analytics’ famous poll, recently penned an article in Forbes discussing the findings of his latest 2016 presidential primary survey. In it, he noted that clear front-runners were beginning to appear in both the Democratic and Republican primary races. According to the poll, Hillary Clinton is, as expected, in cruise control over potential Democratic rivals, holding the support of 52% of those polled, with next-in-line Joe Biden in second place with only 8% support. On the GOP side, however, the results are uniquely consequential, as Rand Paul has broken out of the pack and taken a clear lead over other potential 2016 Republican contenders.

The GOP presidential poll, which was conducted between June 27-29 and included the opinions of 282 likely Republican primary voters, found Rand Paul leading with 20%. Next in line were Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey and former Governor Jeb Bush of Florida, both of whom tied for second with 13% support. No other GOP candidate broke single digits. Said John Zogby of the poll, “This is the first time a GOP candidate has reached 20% in a crowded field and the first time a Zogby poll has shown someone emerging a bit from the pack.”

Rand Paul’s success in the poll comes as a surprise considering the fact that other establishment candidates have better name identification levels among the public. Said Zogby, “Unlike typical polls at this early stage, Paul’s lead is not attributable to simple name recognition. He is decidedly less known than Bush, Christie, and Rubio. He may be drawing on his famous father’s support from previous runs – perhaps in the same way early polls in the late 1990s showed George W. Bush leading the field – but Rand Paul is emerging as the frontrunner in this race.”

Zogby also notes that the poll found Senator Paul scoring well in a variety of key sub-groups. He leads over other contenders among moderates, independents, conservatives, and self-identified Republicans. He holds the highest level of support among protestants and born-again evangelicals. He also scored 29% support among men.

In his analysis, Zogby cautioned that the metrics could change considerably, as there are currently no officially-announced candidates, and support levels may change depending on which candidates actually end up running. That said, Paul is emerging as a clear front-runner, and, if he matches his father Ron Paul’s success in terms of fundraising and winning straw polls, Zogby feels that momentum could intensify.

Zogby’s Democratic primary poll also contains some interesting data relevant to the alleged Obama-Clinton feud. Amid rumors that President Barack Obama may be supporting Senator Elizabeth Warren against Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential race, Zogby found it significant that the hard left-leaning Warren achieved only 7% support in the Democratic version of the poll, which measured the preferences of 612 likely Democratic primary voters. Said Zogby of the dynamic, “Perhaps most telling from the Democratic poll is that Sen. Warren is well behind among self-described liberals.”

It appears based on this round of polls that the 2016 presidential race might feature a head-to-head match-up between Senator Rand Paul and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.