Among voters in the key primary state Iowa, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul is the strongest Republican in the field of prospective 2016 presidential candidates, says a new poll by Quinnipiac University.
Kentucky’s junior senator leads current Vice President Joe Biden by five points among Iowa voters— and he trails former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the presumed Democratic frontrunner, by only four points.
Those totals are better than Sen. Marco Rubio, the Floridian who is also a leading Republican contender for the 2016 presidential election.
In the Quinnipiac poll, Rubio barely edges Biden and trails Clinton by nine points.
The polling numbers come on heels of his keynote speech to Iowa Republicans weeks ago. But a major reason for Paul’s strong standing in Iowa is his perception among Iowa’s independent voters.
Paul has consistently moved up the pecking order in the potential GOP presidential field—in both early national and state polling.
In early April, a poll by Public Policy Polling showed Paul was second leading Republican nationwide in the GOP field, trailing only Rubio. A poll by Quinnipiac at the same time showed Paul in third nationally.
Later that month, PPP released a poll showing Paul was leading all potential GOP candidates in New Hampshire, another key early presidential state.