Rubio jumps to top of GOP pack

Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioApple under pressure to unlock Pensacola shooter's phones Senators offer bill to create alternatives to Huawei in 5G tech Surging Sanders draws fresh scrutiny ahead of debate MORE (R-Fla.) is the new leader atop the Republican presidential field, according to a poll released Wednesday.

Fifteen percent of GOP voters surveyed for a new Quinnipiac University poll said that Rubio would be their first choice if the 2016 primary were held today — a 10-point jump from the survey at the beginning of last month. 

In the latest poll, 13 percent backed his onetime political mentor, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and 11 percent said they would support Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. In the March survey, Walker and Bush led with 18 percent and 16 percent, respectively. 


Unlike Rubio, Walker and Bush have not officially announced that they will seek the nomination, but have been hiring campaign advisers and courting donors.

Asked who they would vote for if their favored candidate was not in the race, Bush and Walker supporters named Rubio more than any other candidate.

In a hypothetical general election match-up with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Rubio garnered 43 percent to her 45 percent. Other Republicans fared worse against Clinton.

Clinton, who also announced her White House bid this month, has an overwhelming lead among Democratic voters. Sixty percent of Democratic or Democratic-leaning voters said that they would back her if their party’s primary was held today.

Ten percent said they would vote for Vice President Biden, 8 percent said they would support Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and 3 percent said they would back former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley.

The poll had a sample of 1,353 registered voters and a margin of error of plus-or-minus 2.7 percentage points. The margin of error was 4.1 percentage points for the questions that were just asked of Republicans or Democrats. The poll was conducted between April 16 and 21.