Former Florida governor Jeb Bush is enjoying a slight lead over his likely Republican rivals for President, according to a new poll, but the nominating contest remains tight with no overwhelming front runner.
The news came as Bush announced he would travel to Germany, Poland and Estonia early next month, giving him a chance to burnish his foreign policy credentials as he prepares to formally launch his bid for the presidency.
The CNN/ORC survey found that 17% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents support Bush in the primary race, while 12% back Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. Kentucky Senator Rand Paul and Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who both recently launched their 2016 campaigns, each drew 11%. Only 4% said they back New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who placed second in the poll as recently as last fall.
Bush also leads the field in several key attributes, according to the poll, including the candidate voters see as having the right experience and the best chance to defeat the Democratic nominee.
In contrast to the Republican race, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who formally announced her candidacy this month, dominates the Democratic lineup. Among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, 69% said they support Clinton, while 11% said they backed Vice President Joe Biden — who hasn’t signaled he’s running — 5% support Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and 3% backed former Virginia Senator Jim Webb.