Republicans may have a big field of potential 2016 presidential candidates, but a new NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll shows that many of them remain unknown to the general public.


A majority of the public have never heard of Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker or Dr. Ben Carson, all of whom are believed to be weighing runs for the GOP nomination. And Sens. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzO'Rourke mulling another Senate run as well as presidential bid Texas senator introduces bill to produce coin honoring Bushes Trump working on labels for 2020 Dems: report MORE (Texas) and Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioIvanka must recalibrate her paid family leave plan to make it tenable The United States needs a career ambassador in Honduras Rubio in Colombia to push for delivery of humanitarian aid to Venezuela MORE (Fla.) aren’t far behind, with 40 percent of the public saying they don’t know who Cruz is, and 39 saying the same about Rubio.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is far and away the most recognized potential GOP candidate, with only 14 percent saying they don’t know his name. Trailing him are New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie at 18 percent unknown, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee at 22 percent, Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulOn unilateral executive action, Mitch McConnell was right — in 2014 Congress must step up to protect Medicare home health care Business, conservative groups slam Trump’s national emergency declaration MORE (Ky.) at 25 percent and Texas Gov. Rick Perry at 27 percent.

Bush might be the best known, but he has one of the worst favorability ratings of all the potential GOP candidates, with only 26 percent having a positive view of him against 33 percent negative.

While he’s largely unknown, Carson has the best favorability rating in the field, with 17 percent having a positive view of him, against only 7 percent negative. He’s followed by Paul, Rubio, Huckabee, Walker and Kasich, all of whom have net positive favorability ratings.

Christie breaks even at 29 to 29 percent, while Bush, Perry and Cruz are under water.

The poll shows that while the GOP bench in 2016 is deep, there are still significant inroads to be made with the public, even for candidates that are at the forefront of the political scene in Washington.

Conversely, Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonSanders campaign reports raising M in less than a day The Memo: Bernie Sanders’s WH launch sharpens ‘socialist’ question Roger Stone invokes gag order in new fundraiser MORE, the front-runner for the Democratic nomination, is almost universally recognized, with only 1 percent saying they don’t know her name. Only 5 percent say they don’t recognize Vice President Biden.

The potential Democratic candidate with the worst name recognition is Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenSanders campaign reports raising M in less than a day The Memo: Bernie Sanders’s WH launch sharpens ‘socialist’ question Gillibrand uses Trump Jr. tweet to fundraise MORE (Mass.), at 39 percent unknown. But Warren has the best favorability rating of that bunch, coming in at 23 percent positive and 17 percent negative.

Clinton is above water on favorability, with 43 percent having a positive view against 40 percent negative. That’s slightly better than President Obama, who gets one of his few positive favorability ratings in this poll with a 45 to 43 percent split.

Biden is underwater at 35 percent positive to 38 percent negative.

The NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll of 1,000 adults was conducted between Nov. 14 and Nov. 17 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.