Just a week after former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush announced he was "actively" exploring a run for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, a new poll shows that he is running 2 points behind another potential contender, the former Massachusetts governor and 2012 losing candidate for president, Mitt Romney.
The poll also shows that, at this stage of the campaign season, none of the GOP hopefuls stand much of a chance against the Democrats' likely champion, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
But the real GOP leader in the race so far, according to Zogby Analytics, is a relatively unknown politician — "Other/Not Sure" outpolled every leading Republican candidate, topping even Romney by 5 percent, The Hill
Romney, who repeatedly has said he will not seek the nomination, outpaced other GOP candidates with 14 percent support in the Zogby poll. Bush got 12 percent, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky got 10 percent, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie got 8 percent, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee took 7 percent, and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida had 7 percent.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker took 5 percent, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Texas Gov. Rick Perry tied at 4 percent, and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal had 3 percent, tied with Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.
Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina got 2 percent, one-time Pennsylvania Gov. Rick Santorum took 1 percent, and Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio and New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez tied at 0.3 percent.
However, Clinton towered over all the GOP hopefuls, outpacing Bush by 49-34 percent, Paul by 51-33 percent, Christie by 48-33 percent, and GOP poll leader Romney by 50-35 percent, The Hill reports shows.
"Unlike the Democrats, the GOP has no clear frontrunner," Zogby said.
Romney's lead over Bush advances to a 3 percent edge among Republican voters, 16-13 percent, followed by Christie at 9 percent, Paul at 8 percent, and Ryan and Rubio with 7 percent each.
Bush leads Romney 15 percen to 14 percent among self-identified conservatives. However, even among staunch Republicans, no clear candidate has come to the fore.
"No one candidate emerges out of the pack by holding a significant lead among key GOP subgroups," Zogby said.
"There are lots of questions but the biggest one for the GOP is this: can anyone stop the Democratic nominee?"
The poll has a plus or minus margin of error of 6 percent, skewing the Republican results while still clearly tilting the point spread to Clinton, who also has not formally announced her intention to run.
But Zogby notes that there is a long way to go to 2016.
"Of course, it is early. We are only taking a temperature before any fever hits. But if the election were held today, the next president is a 'she,'" Zogby said.
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