Rand Paul’s campaign has completely collapsed. According to a new poll, 0% of likely Republican primary voters now say they support the senator from Kentucky.
Yes, you read that right: 0%.
It’s yet another sign that the senator should drop out. His campaign isn’t going anywhere; he’s just wasting time and money. That would be acceptable if he didn’t have anything else to do, but he has to defend his Senate seat next year; he’d better focus on that race and let this one go.
Meanwhile, Ben Carson’s campaign is going strong. The Afro-American neurosurgeon leads the field among likely Republican primary voters — by far: 27% against 20% for Donald Trump. This means that Carson has finally opened a solid gap, one that now makes him the frontrunner.
Interestingly enough, among generic Republican voters — not taking into account whether or not they’re likely to vote in the primaries — Carson and Trump are tied with 25%. This emphasizes a point many have already made in recent months: Trump may be popular, but that doesn’t mean he’ll be able to use his popularity among Republican voters in general to actually win some primaries or caucuses.
Senator Ted Cruz is, according to this poll, the best of the rest. He’s in third place with 10%. Cruz is closely followed by Marco Rubio with 9% and Jeb Bush with 8%. From the looks of it, the establishment can only win if one of those two men — Rubio or Jeb — drops out. They’ll just divide the establishment vote if they both stay in.
Meanwhile, Cruz is undoubtedly praying for Mike Huckabee to get out of the race. The former governor and Fox News presenter has literally no path to the nomination, but can still count on 6% support. If he drops out, a large part of his supporters are bound to go to Cruz, which could put him within reach of Donald Trump.
The most important part of this poll, however, is the demise of Rand Paul. When he first announced his candidacy, many experts thought he might be able to go all the way; he may not win, the thinking was, but he would at the very least be able to rally former supporters of his father behind him.
It’s clear now that this isn’t going to happen. Rand likes to present himself as more of a traditional conservative than his father (he even endorsed Mitch McConnell when he was up for reelection), and it has cost him dearly.
The primaries are still three months away, but Rand’s campaign is now officially dead.