SAINT LEO, Fla., June 15, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush holds a narrow lead over the large Republican field of presidential candidates, but U.S. Senators Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio all gained support in the past three months, according to a new national survey conducted by the Saint Leo University Polling Institute slightly before Bush's formal announcement.
From March to June, Bush inched up from 15 to 16 percent, with Paul increasing from eight to 13 percent, Cruz increasing from seven to 13 percent, and Rubio increasing from seven to 10 percent. Twenty-nine percent of Republican voters expect Bush to win the nomination.
"Bush is maintaining his position but seems to be losing some enthusiasm among Republicans," said Frank Orlando, instructor of political science at Saint Leo University. "His strongly favorable/strongly unfavorable rating among Republicans is as low as it's been since last June. Despite that, his head-to-head with Hillary Clinton was his best showing ever in our national poll," stated Orlando. In a potential matchup, Clinton leads Bush 47 to 43 percent.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's challengers for the Democratic nomination barely registered in the sample of 265 likely Democratic primary voters, which was contacted before Clinton's formal announcement June 13. Clinton was named first choice candidate by 52 percent of Democrats. Announced challengers—U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, former Governor of Rhode Island Lincoln Chafee, and former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley—took less than 10 percent combined. Fifty-seven percent of Democrats expect Clinton will be the party's nominee,
"Clinton's favorability continues to erode but she's still the overwhelming favorite," said Orlando. "Our national survey results put her as low as she's been among the general public. This isn't surprising, as maintaining the favorability she enjoyed last summer long-term was untenable. The odds are that as the campaign ramps up, her standing will continue to slip. However, at this point, none of the other potential Democratic candidates we polled have enough visibility to make a mark."
The Saint Leo University Polling Institute survey results about national and Florida politics, public policy issues, Pope Francis' popularity, and other topics, can be found here: http://polls.saintleo.edu. You can also follow the institute on Twitter @saintleopolls.
SOURCE Saint Leo University Polling Institute