Polls: Republican Nomination a Tossup, General Election Tightening

In a new poll, several members of the Republican field are gaining on the Democratic front-runner.

From left, Scott Walker, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, and Rand Paul are pictured.

From left, Scott Walker, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, and Rand Paul are pictured.

Photographer: Bloomberg

A pair of polls out Tuesday are the latest to confirm the Republican nomination is a tossup, but at least one of them shows that several of those candidates may be closing the gap with Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton in the general election. 

According to a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll out Tuesday, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, Florida Senator Marco Rubio and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker are closing a gap with Clinton.

Of those polled, 47 percent said they would vote for Paul if he faced Clinton in the general election, essentially a tie with Clinton's 48 percent. In the last CNN/ORC poll, from April, Paul trailed Clinton, 58 to 39 percent.  Walker and Rubio both trailed Clinton in potential matchups, 49 to 46 percent.  

With 17 months to go before the 2016 general election, there is plenty of time for this to change. But the poll results also reflect changes in opinion about Clinton.  Her unfavorable rating of 50 percent is the highest in the CNN poll since 2001, and is up from 44 percent in March. 

Both the CNN poll and a new ABC News/Washington Post poll released Tuesday found the GOP primary field to be cramped, with no breakout candidates. In the CNN poll, Rubio led with 14 percent, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush drew 13 percent, and Walker was tied with former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee with 10 percent.  

In the ABC/Post poll, Paul and Walker were tied as the first choice of 11 percent of registered Republicans and Republican-leaning independents. Bush and Rubio were tied with 10 percent and Huckabee had 9 percent. 

The CNN/ORC poll reached 1,025 people by phone from May 29-31. The margin of error was plus or minus 3 percentage points for the full sample and plus or minus 4.5 percentage points for Republicans. The ABC News/Washington Post poll reached 1,001 people by phone from May 28-31. The margin of error was plus or minus 3.5 percentage points for the full sample and plus or minus 4 points for the groups of registered voters. 

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