Jeb Bush may be the front-runner in the Republican presidential field for 2016, despite not yet officially a candidate, but fellow Floridian Marco Rubio is gaining steadily, and enjoys broader support with primary voters.
According to a newly released Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, Bush continues to be the leading GOP candidate, with 23 percent of respondents calling him their first choice. Rubio is second, receiving 18 percent.
However, three-quarters of Republican primary voters (75 percent) say they would vote for Rubio even if he was not a first choice, a number higher than any rival. Bush was also at 70 percent, within the poll’s 6.19 percent margin of error.
Although Rubio’s big boost came directly from his April campaign launch, the Republican field is still largely unsettled and without a clear frontrunner.
Scott Walker was also a popular choice, with 61 percent of respondents saying they could see themselves voting for the Wisconsin governor, who, like Bush, has not yet announced a presidential bid.
Seven other GOP hopefuls were polled, and each falling behind Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul fared best against the former first lady and Secretary of State.
While the polling numbers are good news for Rubio, Patricia Mazzei of the Miami Herald notes that his camp has been downplaying other polls showing a similar post-announcement surge.