If you take Politico’s word for it, Rand Paul’s campaign is in a “downward spiral.” According to Real Clear Politics however, Rand Paul has a better chance of beating Hillary Clinton than any other Republican.
Real Clear Politics’ polling averages show that Paul is in the best position of the Republican field to take Clinton on, polling 4.4% behind her. Second is Jeb Bush, at 4.6% behind, before a steep drop off that places Huckabee in third, trailing Clinton by 7.3%. Cruz is behind Clinton by 8.5% and Walker is trails by 9.0%.
This is of particular note, because the candidate who consistently polls best in a general election matchup has a huge advantage in appealing to the primary electorate. If Paul can keep his numbers against Clinton up, it makes a very compelling case in support of his candidacy.
Paul’s polling numbers against his fellow Republicans have fallen somewhat recently, particularly since the entrance of Donald Trump into the race and the surge that followed. Some have begun to write Sen. Paul off.
The vast majority of potential voters likely have no clear idea of what Rand Paul stands for right now, and not being as into the fun and games of multi-year presidential races as pundits and bloggers, don’t care. The debates coming soon might be a first chance for Paul to really educate a wider range of voters as to what he’s all about.
Making predictions or bold declarations or clear implications about who will do well or win next year based on current fund raising, polling, or internal campaign grousing is pretty silly, though the hungry demands of column inches necessitate political writers doing so.
It’s too early to make these sorts of definitive predictions. As the debates begin next week and kick off the 2016 election in earnest, will Rand Paul’s ability to compete best against Hillary Clinton make a difference?