Still ten months away from New Hampshire’s primary, and with only one official candidate, this election season is sure to be a horse race. A poll released by Suffolk University Thursday shows Jeb Bush and Scott Walker taking early leads among likely voters.
Conducted between March 21-24, Jeb Bush is the early favorite of 19%, with Walker trailing just behind at 14%.
According to Suffolk University:
Rand Paul (7 percent), and businessman Donald Trump, who was testing the waters in New Hampshire last week, (6 percent). Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who on Sunday night tweeted his intention to run for president, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie were tied at 5 percent each, while Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson tied with 3 percent. Ten other candidates received less than 2 percent, and 24 percent were undecided.
An incredibly crowded field, splintered special interest groups, PACs galore, and a primary race starting 20 months before the election, the 2016 election cycle is sure to be a fun one.
Patrick O’Connor explains what this means for candidates joining the race:
The candidate field looks unusually crowded, with more than a dozen contenders appealing to different slices of the GOP. The rise of super PACs allows candidates to stay in the race longer than before. And nominating rules meant to compress the process may complicate a front-runner’s ability to amass the delegates necessary to win.
The result, some GOP strategists say, is that next year’s contest has the ingredients to be the longest since then-President Gerald Ford prevailed over Ronald Reagan at the 1976 convention. The lengthy primary is an outcome that party leaders hoped to avoid after the 2012 race that left their nominee, Mitt Romney, battered and broke heading into the general election.
The potential for an extended primary stems from what many Republicans believe to be a positive development: a crowd of viable candidates expected to run in 2016 and a set of GOP donors who appear eager to finance their bids.
“This cycle, because of all these structural rules changes and the advent of super PACs, people are not going to drop out,” predicted Bill McInturff, a Republican pollster who advised Arizona Sen. John McCain in both of his presidential bids.
Candidates abandon their bids and unify behind the front-runner when either they run out of money or a rival has gathered a majority of delegates, conditions that won’t materialize quickly this time around, he said. “Republicans have created a system where, because of super PACs, it is hard to project someone winning until late May or early June.”
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