BY ALI ELKIN
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has a slight lead over Republican presidential hopefuls, and Hillary Clinton has a significant one over fellow Democrats, according to a CNN/ORC International poll published Monday.
Seventeen percent of self-identified Republicans and GOP-leaning independents said they favored Bush, who has not formally declared himself a candidate yet. He was followed by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, another undeclared contender, at 12 percent, and Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Marco Rubio of Florida at 11 percent each.
It’s a completely different story on the Democratic side, where 69 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents selected Clinton, the former secretary of state who joined the race April 12, as their top choice.
Biden at 11 percent
Possible challengers trailed far behind: Vice President Joe Biden took 11 percent, independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders took 5 percent, former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb took 3 percent, and former Govs. Martin O’Malley of Maryland and Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island took 1 percent each.
Clinton’s primary support grew by 7 percentage points since the last poll in March.
In general-election match-ups, Rubio performed best against Clinton, 41 percent to 55 percent.
The poll reached 435 U.S. adults by phone for the Republican sample and 458 for the Democratic sample from April 16-19, with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points. For the general-election poll, 1,018 adults were surveyed, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
It also was announced Monday that Bush will visit three NATO countries — Germany, Poland and Estonia — in June.
Given a tumultuous Middle East and the likely Democratic nomination of Clinton, foreign policy is sure to stay in the spotlight during the GOP nomination battle.