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Quinnipiac poll: No leader in GOP presidential field

@PatriciaMazzei

The more candidates that jump into the 2016 Republican presidential race, the less clear the field appears in voters' eyes, according to a new poll.

The national survey by Quinnipiac University found five contenders atop the growing list, which means no one is the front-runner. Among the five are both Miami hopefuls, former Gov. Jeb Bush and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, and two more Florida residents, physician Ben Carson and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, along with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. All poll at 10 percent each.

Comprising the rest of the top 10 are Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul (7 percent), Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (6 percent), Donald Trump (5 percent), New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (4 percent), and Carly Fiorina and Ohio Gov. John Kasich (2 percent each). The poll's error margin is 2.4 percent.

Organizers of the first GOP debate in August have said they'll fit no more than 10 people on stage. Half of the people who would be included today -- Bush, Walker, Trump, Christie and Kasich -- have yet to formally launch their candidacies.

"Safe to say, the 2016 Republican presidential primary is anyone's race," Tim Malloy, the poll's assistant director, said in a statement. "With no front-runner and identical numbers for the top five contenders, it's a horserace which can only be described as a scrambled field -– at least so far."

Democrat Hillary Clinton leads all potential Republican rivals, with the closest match-ups putting her 46-42 percent against Paul and 45-41 percent against Rubio. Were she to face Bush, the split would be 47-37 percent.

"This poll reflects what many others do -- Sen. Paul's brand of opportunity conservatism is the GOP's best hope of defeating Hillary Clinton and the Washington Machine," Paul spokesman Doug Stafford said in an email.

With so much of the field undefined, however, it's too early to read much into polls -- especially national ones that don't portray the state-by-state primary contests.

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