The latest on the presidential horse race.

Four-Way Tie For First in Latest Republican Primary Poll

PPP, 3/6-3/9
Huckabee: 18
Bush: 15
Paul: 14
Christie: 14
Cruz: 11
Rubio: 6
Walker: 5
Ryan: 5

The Republican race has at least eight candidates, depending on which poll you prefer, but it appears that the top challengers are separating from the longshot candidates in the last PPP poll.

The poll, conducted between March 6 and March 9, sampling 542 registered voters, found that former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee has a slight edge over the Republican pack nationally with 18 percent of the vote. Since the poll has a margin of error of 4.2 percent, the race is a virtual tie among the top four finishers and far too close to call Mike Huckabee the frontrunner outright.

Coming in a close second is former Florida Governor Jeb Bush with 15 percent of the vote. Bush’s poll numbers, unlike most of the candidates, fluctuate significantly from poll to poll as he has seen as much as 18 percent and as little as 8 percent support since 2014 began.

Just a point behind Bush and just four points behind Huckabee are New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul with 14 percent. Paul is coming off of a big win after placing first in the Conservative Political Action Committee Straw Poll while Christie’s numbers appear to have leveled out in the low-double digits after his Bridgegate scandal. Christie has now finished with 12-14 percent in six straight national polls. Meanwhile, Paul has seen a jump from 11 percent in December and January to 14 percent in two of the last three national polls.

Even Texas Senator Ted Cruz, placing fifth in this poll, is still very relevant with 11 percent of the vote. Of course, that’s the second-highest percentage he’s seen nationally since December and 8-11 percent appears to be his current range.

The other candidates, however, don’t look like they have much of a chance. After running off several double-digit finishes, Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan has come back down to earth, earning just 5 percent of the vote. He has now seen single-digit support in four straight polls with this being his lowest point. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker also received 5 percent but that’s been the norm for him since the fall.

Florida Senator Marco Rubio finished with 6 percent and also seems to have plateaued at 6-10 percent.

(Image courtesy of Gage Skidmore)