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July 08, 2014 12:02 PM The Q-Pac Pack

By Ed Kilgore

Yeah, yeah, I know, presidential preference polls this far in advance of the presidential cycle have limited meaning, at this point in earlier cycles blah blah led and wound up not running/losing badly/incarcerated.

With all that said, the rather dramatic difference in the shape of the early field in the two parties as evidenced by a new national survey from Quinnipiac nicely illustrates the very different places at which Ds and Rs will begin the competition.

On the Democratic side, despite a downward drift in support levels for Hillary Clinton and the emergence of Elizabeth Warren as the most viable alternative, HRC still leads Warren by better than five-to-one. That’s a lot.

Meanwhile, on the Republican side, you have seven—that’s right, seven—potential candidates bunched within three points of each other: Paul at 11; Bush, Christie and Huckabee at 10; and Cruz, Ryan and Walker at 8. (I know these numbers are from relatively small samples, but I’m still pleased that after a long season of frenetic pandering to the GOP’s conservative activist base, Bobby Jindal’s support level has dropped from 3% to 1% since the last Q-Pac poll in January).

Aside from the exceptionally—I’m tempted to say historically—scattered nature of early support among GOP notables for ‘16, it’s interesting which candidates seem to have aroused the most antipathy. Only three muster unfavorable ratings among Republicans higher than 10%: Jeb Bush (overall favorable/unfavorable ratio of 55/15), Mike Huckabee (69/17) and Chris Christie (47/28). Yes, Christie arouses significantly more negative feelings among rank-and-file Republicans than Rand Paul (55/9) or Ted Cruz (44/8). That’s kinda scary.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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