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Poll: Rand Paul leads GOP presidential field

11:06 AM, Mar 16, 2014   |    comments
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(USA TODAY) If the 2016 presidential election were around the corner, a new poll would have good news for Rand Paul, Paul Ryan, Rick Perry and Mike Huckabee.

A poll by CNN/ORC International released Sunday showed Paul, the Kentucky senator and Tea Party favorite, narrowly leading 2012 GOP vice presidential nominee Ryan for the votes of Republicans, 16% to 15%. They are followed by Perry, the Texas governor who had a disastrous 2012 campaign with 11% and Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor who won the 2008 Iowa caucuses, with 10%.

Those four potential presidential candidates were the only ones to register in double digits among Republicans and those independents who lean toward the GOP. Jeb Bush, Chris Christie and Ted Cruz were in the high single-digits right behind Paul and company.

All polls are a snapshot in time and surveys taken for a race two years away just give us an idea of how these politicians are perceived right now. Paul recently won the presidentialstraw poll taken at the Conservative Political Action Conference and Perry brought the house down with his barn-burner speech opening Day 2 of CPAC. Huckabee has been climbing in recent surveys taken by CNN, Public Policy Polling and McClatchy News/Marist Insititute.

"With a crowded field and no clear front-runner among the potential candidates, we should expect to see constant fluctation in the amount of support most candidates get and the order of finishing, so it would be easy to read too much into these numbers," CNN's Polling Director Keating Holland said.

One thing CNN noted about its poll: Paul has achieved something his father - former Texas congressman Ron Paul - never did, despite attracting a fervent following in 2012 and 2008. The Kentucky senator is at the top of a national poll on possible Republican presidential contenders.

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