Poll: Republicans more enthusiastic for 2016 field

Washington (CNN)Republicans are more positive about their slate of presidential contenders than they were around the same time during the last two campaigns, according to a new survey.

The poll, from the Pew Research Center, found that 57% of Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters said they have an "excellent" or "good" impression of their party's presidential candidates.
That compares to the 50% that viewed the GOP field positively in September of 2007, and the far fewer -- 44% -- that had a favorable view of the field in May of 2011.
Democrats, meanwhile, are experiencing the opposite trend: they're less positive about the slate of presidential candidates than they were in September 2007.
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    Then, 64% of Democrats rated their party's candidates excellent or good. Now, 54% say the same.
    The disparity is likely due in part to the diversity within the wide spectrum of GOP candidates versus the relative lack thereof in the Democratic field. Though the dozen-plus Republicans that have announced or are expected to announce presidential bids have given party leaders worried about bruising intraparty squabbling a headache, they also offer a little bit for everyone: libertarians, evangelical Christians, African-Americans, Hispanics, women and men, young and old.
    In contrast, Democrats currently have only two announced candidates -- Vermont Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton -- with perhaps a handful more expected to join. Most of the field will be older, all of the announced and prospective candidates hail from the Mid-Atlantic, and all are white.
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    Clinton is still widely popular within her own party, but she's suffered a decline in favorability since August of last year. Seventy-seven percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaners view her favorably now, down from 86% in August.
    While she enjoys broad approval from Democrats across nearly all demographic groups, Clinton's approval rating drops below 70% for one segment -- younger Millennials. Sixty-five percent of Democrats under 18 in 2007 viewed her positively, compared to 79% of Democrats older than that.
    She's experienced a similar decline among the population as a whole and now splits Americans -- 49% of respondents view her favorably, down from 58% last August and the lowest favorability rating she's gotten since the spring of 2008, when she last ran for president.
    Four prospective Republicans tested are viewed favorably by a majority of Republicans: Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul and Mike Huckabee. Ted Cruz and Scott Walker are seen positively by about 45%.
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    Among older Republicans, Rubio and Walker are the clear winners -- they're viewed favorably by 75% and 64% of Republicans 65 and older, respectively. Young Republicans on measure view the GOP field positively, except for Bush -- they're split on the former Florida governor, with 45% viewing him positively against 41% who view him negatively.
    The survey was conducted May 12-18 among 2,002 adults, including 1,497 registered voters, via landline and cell phone. It has an overall margin of error of 2.9%, while the margin of error for the Democratic portion is 4.5% and for the Republican portion is 5%.