Here is a pretty good sign that you should take surprising new poll numbers with a grain of salt: When the campaign that surges dismisses them.
Polls in 10 mos. out don't matter. RT @learyreports New Q poll shows Rubio leading GOP field and Clinton. http://t.co/IS99Mxzfin— Terry Sullivan (@OnBackground) April 22, 2015
Part of this might have been gamesmanship, trying to keep Rubio's head down as enemy fire increases. But also: He's right. They don't. (Or, at least, they don't predict much of anything.)
As we often do, we put together a graphic showing how Rubio's standing changed between the last Quinnipiac poll, from early March, and this new one. Dots above the diagonal line are candidates who are doing better than last time. Those below, worse.
Rubio is clearly seeing a big boost here, at the expense of Scott Walker in particular.
But notice who else is above the line, having improved from last month. Ted Cruz and Rand Paul. Now, what do the three of them have in common? Oh, right. They've all announced their candidacies. Rubio was simply the most recent.
What's remarkable is that Rubio jumped in three key Republican constituencies, even when you might not have expected him to be the favorite. And Paul and Cruz jumped along with him.
Scott Walker, as the long-time non-Jeb-Bush favorite, saw a lot of his support erode. But we have a theory: If and when Walker announces, he, too, will see a jump in the polls.
It's almost as if polling 10 months out doesn't mean a whole lot in a crowded, volatile field. Who knows.