Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul is leading an online poll being conducted by Contract From America as the conservative pick for president in 2016.
With 190,000 votes cast as of Monday morning, Paul leads, with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio rounding out the top three. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush are running in last place, ranked 32 and 31 respectively.
Contract From America (CFA) is a nonprofit conservative organization that promotes the “Contract From America” that was first drafted and embraced in 2010 by tea party Republicans.
CFA distributed the poll to tea party chapters and leaders, and conservative organizations across the country, and asked voters to choose their favorite candidate in 12 to 15 head-to-head match-ups featuring 32 possible candidates. The poll, [found here] officially started February 28.
Rand Paul leads the poll, winning 80 percent of his match-ups, with Walker winning 76 percent and Rubio winning 73 percent. (RELATED AUDIO: Paul says McCain, other opponents are “on the wrong side of history”)
“I haven’t seen it online before, the kind of polling we do. … It’s kind of unique, but it’s also within an historical preference voting model,” said Ryan Hecker, who heads Contract from America.
“We based it off of the preference voting model, where you try to show every single variation of the candidates against each other, and from that try to get a full set of preferences,” he continued.
Hecker said that in 2012, the CFA poll had then-Rep. Ron Paul running in the lower third of the Republican primary field, which, while generally accurate with primary results, was “atypical for online polls” that usually gave Paul landslide victories.
Hecker said that Rand Paul was the clear favorite from day one of the poll, even before the senator’s dramatic filibuster last week, but “given Rand Paul’s passionate performance … it’s understandable that the base is so supportive of him.”
“What that says to me is that Rand Paul has a much higher ceiling [of support] than his father did,” Hecker said.