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Poll finds Republicans still open to several candidates in the GOP field

Here's a little more from our new CBS News poll, in which we gave Republicans a long list of potential presidential candidates and asked if they'd consider voting for them. People could pick multiple candidates, which helps illustrate how open the contest is at this early date.

Half of Republicans said "yes," they'd consider at least half the candidates on the CBS News' list of eleven possible contenders. Considered another way, three-quarters of Republicans ended up saying they'd consider voting for at least two of the candidates listed. A month ago, we asked a similar question about whether Americans would like to see certain candidates run, and our findings were similar - voters desire a multiple-candidate race. People like having choices, especially this early on.

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For each candidate they didn't rule in or out, Republicans had the option of saying they didn't know enough about him yet, and many said exactly that. Four in 10 Republicans said they hadn't even heard enough about at least six of the eleven candidates listed. Another third hadn't heard about at least two of the candidates, and as many as five of them.

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A reminder, then, that for those of us who cover presidential politics: these possible-candidate names are well-known to us, but for most voters, this contest remains a long way off, and they're in no hurry to reach our level of familiarity with the candidates. But these polls can also help describe the way in which candidates might need to approach the race, should they choose to enter, and whether they have the room to persuade people. Candidates will learn whether it's necessary to introduce themselves for the first time (which is the case for most) or whether they'll have the harder task of re-introducing themselves and changing some minds.

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    Anthony Salvanto, Ph.D is CBS News Director of Elections and Surveys. He oversees all polling across the nation, states and congressional races, and heads the CBS News Decision Desk that estimates outcomes on Election Nights. He is the author of "Where Did You Get This Number: A Pollster's Guide to Making Sense of the World," from Simon & Schuster, and appears regularly across all CBS News platforms. His scholarly research and writings cover topics on polling methodology, voting behavior, and sampling techniques.