People like choice. At least at this early stage.
The latest CBS News poll gave Republican voters a long list of prospective Republicans candidates and asked whether each of them should run for president. While a lot of attention has been on those individual candidates, voters collectively liked a big field: the more, the merrier.
Poll respondents could answer "Yes, they should run" to as many individual candidates as they wanted, among these choices: Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush, Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin, Chris Christie, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Scott Walker, Ted Cruz, Rick Perry, Ben Carson, Rick Santorum, and Bobby Jindal. Seven in ten said yes to at least three of those, and a quarter of Republicans said yes to at least five.
And although plenty of pundits have surmised that Romney and Bush would compete for the same type of voter (or at least the same set of donors), those voters would like a chance to decide for themselves.
Fifty-one percent of those who want Romney to run said Bush should also run. Fifty-eight percent of those who said they want Bush to run also want to see Romney in the race.
But as is the case with most polls at this early stage, it's important to recognize that much of this is shaped by name recognition. Jeb Bush, of course, has a famous name. Mitt Romney is the most recent GOP nominee and was in the news recently during the 2014 midterms because he stumped for many Republican candidates. Meanwhile, most of the candidates tested elicited far higher "Don't know enough" responses compared to Romney and Bush, but not outright "No" answers, suggesting that voters will learn more about the candidates when they are ready, and they're in no hurry to narrow the field.