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You’d think the field would begin to narrow somewhat for Republicans in 2016 yet, as no single contender has been able to grab any momentum, it only continues to widen. For example, a new Washington Post poll now shows there are twelve potential 2016 GOP candidates within striking distance of winning the nomination.

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This poll excludes Mitt Romney for the purposes of asking Romney voters which candidate they would support if Romney decides not to launch a 2016 bid.

Report from the Washington Post:

Clipboard01New Washington Post-ABC News polling on the 2016 Republican presidential race makes one thing very clear: Every GOPer who has even a hint of ambition for national office is likely to run in two years time. Why? Because the field is remarkably frontrunner-less, meaning that every Ted, John and Rob can make a plausible case to activists and donors that they are going to eventually be the guy.

National polls of a race whose first vote won’t be cast for another fourteen months should be taken as a test not of electoral viability but of name identification. That is, when asked who they will support in a race that is two years and one election away, people tend to choose not necessarily who they will really vote for when the time comes but rather whatever name comes to their mind when being asked the question.

Even though this poll isn’t predictive, it is telling. Two of the top three candidates — Bush and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee — are, at best, 50-50 shots at running.[Emphasis added]

As stated, the names at the number one and number three position may or may not even declare a candidacy yet they lead many of the others who are unquestionably launching a campaign. It seems that since 2008, Republicans have had a tough time unifying behind a personality which will drive the party’s platform forward.

The purpose of the Post article was to examine the field if Romney does indeed pass on the third ride. However, if Romney would be included, he’d be near or at the top of the list. What’s interesting in that scenario is that Romney was essentially the “default” option in 2012 when another crowded field was unable to find a breakout candidate. So, once again, Romney would win by default in 2016 due to recognition.

(Update)

The poll mentioned in the story asks voters who WOULD VOTE for Mitt Romney who their second choice would be if Romney chooses not to run. Sorry for the omission.

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