Poll: Hillary Clinton Tops Paul, Cruz Nationwide

Poll: Hillary Clinton Tops Paul, Cruz Nationwide
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Hours after Hillary Clinton officially launched her presidential campaign and took off on a New York to Iowa road trip, a new poll showed her with an edge on GOP candidates.

Clinton leads Republican Sens. Ted Cruz and Rand Paul by nine and 10 points, respectively, according to a nationwide survey by Rasmussen Reports. Clinton didn’t top 50 percent in either matchup, but was ahead of Cruz, 47 percent-38 percent, and leads Paul, 47 percent-37 percent.

In both hypothetical matchups, 11 percent of respondents said they would vote for someone else.

While these three were the only official candidates at the time the poll was released Monday morning, that is likely to change within hours. Another Senate freshman, Marco Rubio of Florida, is expected to make his presidential announcement Monday night in Miami. The GOP field will probably continue to grow throughout the spring and summer, with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, and a number of other aspirants expected to join the fray.

Paul and Cruz sit slightly behind Bush and Walker in most polls, with Rubio a little further behind. Cruz was the first to enter the race two weeks ago and his poll numbers surged in the aftermath. Paul followed with an announcement a week later, and the timelines for the rest of the potential candidates are still unclear.

On the Democratic side, Clinton’s path to the nomination seems considerably more certain. Several former or current officeholders – including former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb and possibly Vice President Joe Biden – are considering running, but all possible contenders fall far short of Clinton in most polls. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the closest to catching the former secretary of state, has repeatedly insisted she’s not running for the White House.

Clinton had been expected to run for months, but officially announced with a video and a tweet Sunday afternoon. She then hit the road to Iowa, where she’ll hold a number of small events with voters in the nation’s first voting state.

Though it’s the season for presidential announcements, there’s still a long way to go before anything is decided. In fact, there are 574 days until Election Day 2016 and around 10 months before the Iowa caucuses. A vast majority of voters, 82 percent, say they’ve been following the race somewhat or very closely. But 70 percent think the campaign cycle is too long. 

The poll of 1,000 likely voters, conducted April 9 and 12, has a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.

James Arkin is a congressional reporter for RealClearPolitics. He can be reached at jarkin@realclearpolitics.com. Follow him on Twitter @JamesArkin.

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