The 2016 GOP field: No clear frontrunner, low support from Latinos

As the field of possible presidential candidates begins to shape up, one poll shows the Republican presidential race remains wide open while another poll finds…

Sen. Marco Rubio and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush are among the GOP field of possible presidential candidates. (AP Photos/Alan Diaz/Eric Gay)

As the field of possible presidential candidates begins to shape up, one poll shows the Republican presidential race remains wide open while another poll finds GOP presidential hopefuls have low favorability ratings among Latino voters.

A new set of NBC News/Marist polls of voters in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina found that no potential Republican candidate holds a clear lead. However, it also found that there are two “very early” frontrunners: former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who were the only potential GOP presidential candidates who received double digits in all three states.

SEE ALSO: Meet Jeb Bush’s Mexican wife, Columba

In Iowa, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee led the pack with with 17 percent. Bush closely followed him with 16 percent, as did Walker with 15 percent.

New Hampshire showed a different picture. Here, Bush drew the most support at 18 percent. Walker came in second with 15 percent, and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul came in third with 14 percent.

In South Carolina, Sen. Lindsey Graham had the lead in his home state with 17 percent. Following closely behind was Bush with 15 percent and Walker with 12 percent.

On the Democratic side, Hilary Clinton was the clear favorite among Democratic voters in all three states. She led Vice President Joe Biden, Vermont independent Sen. Bernie Sanders, former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley.

The poll didn’t include Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren among the potential Democratic candidates, because she continues to say that she doesn’t plan to run for president in 2016.

How Latinos view GOP presidential hopefuls

When it comes to how the potential Republican presidential hopefuls are faring among Latino voters, a recent Latino Decisions poll showed it doesn’t look too good for the GOP.

Latino voters were asked how much they knew about five GOP potential presidential contenders and what they thought about them. The poll found that, overall, Latino voters rejected all five GOP candidates by roughly a 2-1 margin. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul were the least favorable.

SEE ALSO: Marco Rubio’s changing views on immigration

Meanwhile, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio had the highest support among Latino voters, with 35 percent of them saying they were likely to consider voting for the Cuban American. Coming in second with 33 percent was New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Bush came in third with 32 percent.

At this point, the potential GOP contenders are faring slightly better among Latino voters than former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who took just 27 percent of the Latino vote in the 2012 election. Romney’s “self-deportation” comments and threats to veto the DREAM Act were among the reasons why he turned away many Latino voters.

Republican presidential hopefuls, however, still have a chance to make inroads with Latinos. So what can they do? They could start by changing their stance on immigration.

A Latino Decisions/ survey released late last year found that an overwhelming majority of Latino voters support the executive actions that President Barack Obama took in November to protect millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation. Other polls have shown many Latinos support an immigration reform bill with a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

Meanwhile, Republicans are often in direct contrast to Latinos when it comes to immigration. They want to block Obama’s executive actions on immigration and many have also spoken out against passing an immigration reform bill that includes a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. If GOP presidential candidates take these same positions on immigration, they could find themselves in trouble as they court Latino voters in the 2016 race for president.