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Surprise — 2016 GOP presidential field is wide open

Yes, that headline was intended as sarcasm. CNN has a new poll out that’s about as useless as you’d imagine a poll of Republican voters on the the 2016 presidential field would be. But if it is instructive of one thing, it’s a reminder to those of us who live and breathe politics that people in the rest of the country have other things on their minds.

For instance, you’ll often hear people in Washington debate whether Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal’s 2009 State of the Union response will doom his candidacy. But according to the CNN survey, 45 percent of Republicans haven’t even heard of Jindal, let alone a speech he gave over four years ago.

In contrast, just seven percent of Republicans said they never heard of Rep. Paul Ryan and his approval rating stood at 74 percent — they highest among those named, a list that includes New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie; Sens. Rand Paul and Marco Rubio; former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush;  and former Senator and 2012 presidential candidate Rick Santorum.

Like the 2012 race, the 2016 GOP race will be wide open. But for different reasons. The 2012 race was wide open because the field was so weak, but next time around, the race will be competitive because there are a lot of strong candidates.