Republican insiders like Marco Rubio in 2016

Marco Rubio

Republicans are still reeling from this year’s election results, which secured President Barack Obama another four years in the White House. And at this point, no one really wants to talk about 2016. That hasn’t stopped at least one pollster, Public Policy Polling, from looking at the prospective field for Republicans.

Last week, Public Policy Polling, which was the most accurate pollster this year, released a survey looking at how some potential Republican presidential candidates shape up in the all important state of Iowa:

The Republican Party has no front-runner for the 2016 Iowa caucuses, with even Jeb Bush and Paul Ryan scarcely drawing double-digit support in a new Public Policy Polling survey of the contest.

The poll, which was shared exclusively with POLITICO, found former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee as the nominal leader of the pack, taking 15 percent of the vote in a nine-candidate field.

But that was only 3 points better than Ryan, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, each of whom took 12 percent. Bush had 11 percent, followed by Rick Santorum at 10 percent and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at 9 percent.

Bringing up the rear were Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul at 5 percent and Sarah Palin at 4 percent.

Social conservatives are an important bloc in Iowa, as well as in the South. Rick Santorum carried the state earlier this year, though he was unable to gain enough traction in other primaries across the country to overtake Mitt Romney.

Republican insiders are also picking early favorites for the nomination in 2016. It should come as no surprise, given the lack of support among Hispanic voters, that they like Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL):

The strongest GOP presidential nominee in 2016 will come from Florida, according to the latest National Journal Political Insiders Poll. But Republicans and Democrats don’t agree if that person is Sen. Marco Rubio or former Gov. Jeb Bush.

Among Democrats, Bush received a near majority of the votes, 47 percent, among the eight choices presented. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie received the second most tallies, at 28 percent, and no other contender managed to receive more than 15 percent of the vote share.

With George W. Bush still taking a lot of blame for the economy from voters, it doesn’t seem like a good idea for Republicans to nominate another member of that family. Sure, Jeb Bush isn’t his brother, and he would be remarkably better on public policy. However, the reality is that the Bush name is one that Republicans should avoid. Rubio is reactionary choice due to the immigration issue, though Rubio has sealed up his conservative and leadership bonafides since taking his seat in the Senate.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who would have a built-in network thanks to his father, Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), doesn’t receive any support among Washington insiders. Rand Paul, who boosted Republican candidates in this past cycle, is better at communicating the limited government message than his father, but he’s still not as seasoned as other likely candidates in the field.

The choices of insiders probably may fall on deaf ears as many conservatives feel that Romney’s lack of vision and ability to communicate their principles hurt them at the ballot box. Of course, these polls mean nothing at this point. The field isn’t going to become clear until after the 2014 mid-term election. Nevertheless, they provide us with an idea of the mood of Republicans right now.

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