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Rand and Mitt Tied for 2016: A Tale of Two GOPs

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A brand new Zogby Analytics poll of likely Republican presidential primary voters shows Kentucky Senator Rand Paul and former Massachusetts Governor (and 2012 GOP nominee) Mitt Romney tied at 15% in a very crowded field of potential candidates. The online poll of 212 likely Republican presidential primary voters was conducted September 3 and 4 and has a margin of sampling error of +/-6.9 points.

Here is how all the candidates stack up:

Rand Paul
15%
Mitt Romney
15%
Jeb Bush
10%
Chris Christie
9%
Mike Huckabee
9%
Paul Ryan
5%
Ted Cruz
5%
Rick Perry
5%
Marco Rubio
3%
Scott Walker
2%
Rick Santorum
1%
Suzanna Martinez
.3%
Nikki Haley
.2%
Rob Portman
--
Not Sure
19%

Obviously, this is early and has much to do with name recognition. However, what is striking is the two top “contenders” represent two completely different sides of the GOP’s likely voters. Paul, who actually outpolls Romney 15.2% to 14.6% (which of course is statistically insignificant), draws his support mainly from men (among whom he leads Romney 16% to 12%), while Romney is ahead among women 17%-14%. Paul captures 64% of the small amount of 18-29 year olds, while Romney gets only 4%. Romney, on the other hand leads handily among 30-49 year olds and voters over 65 – 19% to zero among the former and 24% to 5% among the latter. Among 50-64 year olds, Paul is ahead 15% to 9%.

Registered Republicans like Mitt over Rand by a factor of 17% to 8%, but among the almost three in ten self-described independents, Rand leads 31% to 10%. Among the 85% self-described conservatives, the two leaders are about tied – 18% for Paul, 16% for Romney. Paul is the choice among those with college degrees; Romney is backed by those without college degrees.

Protestants choose Paul 21% to 14%, especially those are Born Again/Evangelical 24% to 9%. Both big city and rural voters favor Paul by big margins. The two are closer among small city and suburban voters. NASCAR Fans want Paul 23% to 9% over Romney, but Investor Class voters prefer Romney 22% to 5%.

Certainly there is a long way to go and there is a long list of other contenders, including Huckabee who shows real strength among those who attend church services at least weekly – a trait that could help him win Iowa again. For now, the real dynamic within the GOP is best personalized in the forms of Rand Paul and Mitt Romney. This is a classic split.

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