The latest on the presidential horse race.

Not So Fast: Rand Paul Takes Surprising Lead in New CNN Poll

CNN/ORC, 3/7-3/9

  • Paul: 16
  • Ryan: 15
  • Perry: 11
  • Huckabee: 10
  • Bush: 9
  • Christie: 8
  • Cruz: 8
  • Rubio: 5
  • Santorum: 3

Though we’ve seen Mike Huckabee lead the Republican nomination race in every poll that’s included him in 2014, a surprising new CNN poll shows that Rand Paul leads the Republican nomination race nationally.

The poll, conducted between March 7 and March 9, sampling 367 adults, found that Kentucky Senator Rand Paul is first among the Republican pack with 16 percent of the vote. Paul is riding off a big win at the annual Conservative Political Action Convention where is finished first in the CPAC straw poll with 31 percent of the vote. On the other hand, his numbers have been closer to 9-11 percent in most polls since January.

Coming in a close second was Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan with 15 percent of the vote. This is another peculiar number considering Ryan has seen just 5-9 percent in the previous four national polls.

Perhaps the most interesting number in the poll is Texas Governor Rick Perry’s 11 percent. Perry, who isn’t even included on most polls, hasn’t seen more than 6 percent of the vote in any poll taken since the fall.

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, who had led each of the previous four national Republican polls, found himself in fourth place in this one with just 10 percent of the vote. Huckabee had received at least 16 percent in three of the last four polls.

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush stayed at the level he’s been since January, finishing fifth with 9 percent of the vote. Bush has finished with 8-9 percent in two of the last three polls we’ve seen but has also finished with 15+ in certain surveys.

Placing behind Bush were New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Texas Senator Ted Cruz with 8 percent. This is the first time we’ve seen Christie below double-digits in any survey taken since polling began. Meanwhile, Cruz has finished between 8-12 percent in six of the last seven polls.

Florida Senator Marco Rubio and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum finished behind the pack, receiving 5 and 3 percent, respectively.

(Image courtesy of Gage Skidmore)