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Eye On Candidates
June 17, 2015

Clinton’s Top Rivals: Bush, Paul, Rubio

Head-to-head matchups between the top Democratic and Republican candidates don't mean much this point, but they can provide some clues about which candidates have both sufficient national name recognition and positive perceptions at this point. Bloomberg Politics provides analysis of recent polls in three key "swing" states showing three Republicans, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and current U.S. Senators Marco Rubio and Rand Paul, to be competitive with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton:

Rubio, Bush, Paul Are Clinton's Top Opponents in Swing-States Poll

Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, and Rand Paul are leading the Republican pack as most electable against Democrat Hillary Clinton in three swing states, according to a new poll with provocative implications for the crowded GOP primary.

Still, Clinton tops eight Republican contenders or the matchups are too close to call in Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, with just one exception—a theoretical Ohio contest against that state's governor, John Kasich—according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday...

If the general election were held now and Clinton were the Democratic nominee, Rubio would be Clinton's top threat by a “tiny” edge, said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the survey. Rubio leads Clinton 44 percent to 43 percent in one state, Pennsylvania, and trails her 44 percent to 47 percent in Florida and 42 percent to 45 percent in Ohio.

Bush trails Clinton in all three states, the poll found, though by small margins: 41 percent to 42 percent in Ohio, 42 percent to 46 percent in his home state, and 41 percent to 45 percent in Pennsylvania.

Paul, a U.S. senator from Kentucky, edges Clinton 45 percent to 44 percent in Pennsylvania and ties her at 43 percent in Ohio while falling well behind her in Florida, 39 percent to 46 percent.

The article focuses on the trio of Bush, Paul, and Rubio, but also includes information on Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who trails Clinton in all three states, and Ohio Governor John Kasich, who leads in Ohio but trails in the other two.

The most interesting takeaway is that in the states where voters know the Republican candidates best, Clinton beats both Rubio and Bush in Florida, while Kasich tops her in Ohio. It's too early to be drawing any conclusions, but it should raise a few eyebrows about the competitiveness of candidates who aren't polling well in their home state as well as candidates like Paul who are able to edge Clinton .