Sen. Rand Paul appears to be the man to beat in Colorado in 2016, a new poll says.
Colorado voters would favor the Kentucky Republican over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by 48 percent to 43 percent in a potential 2016 presidential race, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll.
Paul also has a higher favorability rating than the other three possible Republican presidential contenders listed in the poll — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
Paul’s favorability ranking is 41 percent and his unfavorability ranking is 30 percent. Huckabee has a favorability rating of 37 percent and an unfavorability ranking of 30 percent. The other two GOP candidates both have higher unfavorability than favorability rankings.
For her part, Clinton scores 48 percent in favorability and 47 percent in unfavorability with respondents.
The poll comes as speculation is rising about the 2016 GOP presidential field and provides insight into a state that was crucial in the 2012 election.
The poll might also shed some light on where Paul could outflank his GOP counterparts — among young voters. While Clinton leads Bush by 21 points and Huckabee by 11 points among 18-to 29-year-olds, Paul matched the former secretary of state in the age group, with both scoring 43 percent.
Paul also had a strong edge against Clinton among respondents who identify as independent voters. 48 percent of independent voters favored Paul, while just 37 perfect favored Clinton.