He’s now in second place among Republican 2016 prospects, according to a new poll from PPP. Before the filibuster, he was in sixth place. That protest against executive unaccountability and drone warfare not only changed the way Americans feel about drones but has begun to build a movement behind Senator Paul himself. Even apart from the fact I agree, or stand, with Rand on drones and presidential power, I’m impressed to see a Republican take a firm stand on an unpopular policy and turn public opinion by force of moral leadership. It’s been a long time since the GOP has tried that—moralizing yes, but that’s something else.
Here’s how the 2016 prospects look in PPP’s poll:
Marco Rubio continues to lead nationally, as he has on all four of our 2016 polls so far. He’s at 21% this month, basically the same as 22% the month before the State of the Union address. Rubio’s favorability of 62/10 is slightly better than 59/12 in early February. The whole water drinking episode hasn’t had any effect on his standing- nor has his stance on immigration reform.
The big move though has come from Paul. In early February he was in 6th place among Republican contenders at just 10%. Now he’s vaulted all the way up to 2nd place at 17%. Chris Christie is 3rd at 15% and Paul Ryan and Jeb Bush are tied for 4th at 12%.
Rick Santorum is at 5 percent. Bobby Jindal gets 4 percent. I’m a little surprised to see Paul Ryan doing relatively well—his latest budget didn’t get a warm welcome from the wonks, but then, that wouldn’t have much effect on voters, at least not yet.