If you were hoping for some conclusive data on who will win next year’s Republican primaries, keep waiting. In a national poll released Thursday, five candidates -- or potential candidates -- were in a dead heat.
The level playing field in the 2016 GOP presidential race is an indicator that some candidates once thought to be clear frontrunners will have anything but an easy road to the nomination. Each of those top five polled at 10 percent, according to the Quinnipiac poll. The contrast with the Democratic field, where former Secretary of State, U.S. Sen. and first lady Hillary Clinton came in at 57 percent, is obvious.
At the top of the GOP pack, and in no particular order, were former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. Bush and Walker haven’t yet declared their candidacies, but are widely expected to do so and are raising a lot of money for their runs in the meantime.
Other Republican contenders in the top 10 had only between 7 and 2 percent support. They are, from top to bottom: Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, business mogul Donald Trump, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former tech executive Carly Fiorina and Ohio Gov. John Kasich. Fiorina and Kasich tied for tenth, at 2 percent.
Polling in the top 10 is an especially important marker this time around. The first primary debates, which will be held in August, will feature only candidates in that range.
There was some good news for Fiorina, who took a 1 percent lead over Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, who officially announced his candidacy on Wednesday, and former New York Gov. George Pataki, who announced Thursday, did not register in the poll.
Fiorina ranking in the top 10 is perhaps good news for the GOP as a whole, too. For a party that is attempting to reach out to women voters and other sectors of the electorate that are alienated from the party, adding a woman to the roster has been seen as a good way to counteract Clinton’s draw for women voters. Carson, who is black, adds diverity as well.
Trailing behind Clinton on the Democrat side was Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who jumped from eight to 15 percent. Vice President Joe Biden, who may not run at all, came in third with 1 percent. No other potential Democratic candidates, including former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, who is expected to announce his candidacy this weekend, registered among voters.
Leading the way in the "no way" category for the Republicans was Trump, with 21 percent. He was followed by Bush, who got 17 percent, and Christie, who got 15 percent. Among Democrats, roughly 9 percent of those polled said there was "no way" they would back Clinton or Biden.
The poll was conducted from May 19 -26, and surveyed 1,711 registered voters nationwide. Live interviewers called land lines and cell phones to reach 679 Republicans and 748 Democrats. The poll has a margin of error of 2.4 percent.