Rand Paul: The Republican Candidate Least Feared by Young Non-Republicans 

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
July 17 2014 10:08 AM

Rand Paul: The Republican Candidate Least Feared by Young Non-Republicans 

150952171-sen-rand-paul-speaks-during-the-third-day-of-the
None too threatening

Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The new Quinnipiac poll out of Colorado and new NBC/Marist poll out of Iowa should please Democrats only for the residual pain they might cause Dick Cheney. In Colorado, Rand Paul performs absolutely the best against Hillary Clinton, among any of the 2016 Republicans—he leads her 46–43, and has led consistently since the pollster started trial heats last year. In Iowa, Paul and Clinton are tied, 45–45.*

This is the summer of Rand Paul; in a way, all of 2014 has been a summer of Rand Paul. No Republican gets more positive coverage. Reporters (myself included) love to cover a politician who riffs with so little dependence on talking points. Readers click on anything Paul-related, which is among the reasons why Paul's criminal justice reform bill co-sponsored with Sen. Cory Booker got universally happy write-ups, from NPR to Politico. (The big news from Politico's Paul/Booker event was that the men took a selfie together.)

Advertisement

Where does Paul's support come from? The Quinnipiac poll, which offers up its crosstabs, finds that Paul is marginally more popular than other Republicans across most age groups. But he's far more popular among voters under 30. He wins them by 7 points; Chris Christie wins them by 4, Jeb Bush loses them by 4, Mike Huckabee loses them by 7. That's a small mound of evidence for the theory that Paul's "liberty movement" politics, his identification with privacy and drug law reform, etc., cracks the millennial voter code. 

The only cold comforts for Paul? This is Colorado, where for various reasons (usually underpolling of Hispanics) polls have recently underestimated the Democratic vote. And as I keep banging on about, in my Cassandra way, the Summer of Rand Paul has featured absolutely none of the negative stories that will come if Paul becomes a national candidate.

*Correction, July 28, 2014: This post originally misstated that Paul is the only Republican who leads Clinton in Iowa. Paul ties Clinton.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore

And schools are getting worried.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

The XX Factor

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.

Politics

Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

Why a Sketch of Chelsea Manning Is Stirring Up Controversy

How Worried Should Poland, the Baltic States, and Georgia Be About a Russian Invasion?

Trending News Channel
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM -30-
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
  Life
Quora
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
  Arts
Behold
Sept. 21 2014 11:00 AM Sometimes You Just Need to Print Your Photos the Old-Fashioned Way 
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 21 2014 8:00 AM An Astronaut’s Guided Video Tour of Earth
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.