As long as Paul is the frontrunner his profile is significantly raised, his fundraising becomes much easier, and his ability to push his legislative goals is increased.

A series of polls out today makes it clear the frontrunner in the 2016 Republicans presidential primary is actually Senator Rand Paul (R-KY). The latest Marist-NBC polls in the early primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire have Paul in the top spot.

In New Hampshire Paul is winning 14 percent of potential Republican electorate, followed by Chris Christie at 13 percent, Jeb Bush with 10 percent, and Ted Cruz at 9 percent. The rest are in the single digits

Similarly, in Iowa Paul and Bush are tied at 12 percent. Paul Ryan stands at 11 percent, Rick Santorum has 9 percent and Christie is at 8 percent. The rest are in the single digits

Paul is also the most electable Republican according to the polls. In theoretical general election matchups with Hillary Clinton he outperforms all the other Republicans in both New Hampshire and Iowa. In addition, a new Quinnipiac poll of Colorado found Paul actually has a three point lead over Clinton there while all the other Republicans are losing to her.

Obviously, polling has a very limited ability to predict election outcomes over a year away but they still have an impact on things happening now. As long as Paul is the frontrunner his profile is significantly raised, his fundraising becomes much easier, and his ability to push his legislative goals is increased. At the same time though, he also face much greater scrutiny.

Photo by Iris Shreve Garrott under Creative Commons license