POWER RANKINGS: Here's who has the best chance at being our next president

These Candidates Have the Best Chance of Becoming President


Over the past month of the presidential campaign, we've seen more surprises (Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, and Bernie Sanders). And we've seen our first exits from the race.

Former Gov. Rick Perry of Texas (R) is out. Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin (R), one of the strongest-looking GOP candidates early in the race, is out.

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Meanwhile, a group of self-proclaimed political outsiders continues to shake up the races in both parties.

With just more than 400 days until the 2016 election, here's another look at who has the best chance of making it to the White House to succeed President Barack Obama.

Our rankings are based on the Real Clear Politics averages of national polls and those in the first-voting states of New Hampshire, Iowa, and South Carolina. We also factor in candidates' fundraising prowess and their momentum (or lack thereof) over the past few weeks, especially after the second Republican presidential debate earlier this month.

Here's a look at where all the candidates stand.

17. Rick Santorum, Republican, former senator from Pennsylvania

It's easy to forget that Santorum won 11 states in his 2012 primary matchup with Mitt Romney, the eventual Republican nominee — including the Iowa caucus.

That's because so far — even though he is the first candidate to crisscross all of Iowa's 99 counties this time — he hasn't been even a blip on the radar in the 2016 race.

See Santorum on the trail:

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Rick Santorum on the campaign trail
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POWER RANKINGS: Here's who has the best chance at being our next president
GARNER, IOWA - AUGUST 24: Republican Presidential candidate Rick Santorum continues to campaign through Iowa on August 24, 2015 in Garner, Iowa. Here he stops at Stellar Industries for an informal 'town hall' style meeting with locals and employee's. (Photos by Charles Ommanney/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Rick Santorum, former senator from Pennsylvania and 2016 Republican presidential candidate, waits to speak at a news conference on the immigration system at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Aug. 20, 2015. Santorum discussed the need to secure the border, reform visa programs, reduce current legal immigration levels by 25% and create a workable program for America's agricultural sector. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
UNITED STATES - August 15: Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum mans the grill as he cooks pork chops at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, Iowa, on Saturday, August 15, 2015. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)
Rick Santorum, former senator from Pennsylvania and 2016 Republican presidential candidate, holds a glass of beer he poured during a campaign stop at Confluence Brewing Co. in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S., on Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2015. Santorum will speak at Iowa State Fair's politics soapbox on Aug. 15. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum speaks during the Republican presidential primary debate on August 6, 2015 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. Seven candidates are debating before the top 10 candidates face off during prime time. AFP PHOTO/MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Republican presidential hopeful and former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum is seen at the Quicken Loans Arena ahead of the Republican presidential primary debate on August 6, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. AFP PHOTO/MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 22: Republican candidate for USA President and former Senator from Pennsylvania , Rick Santorum visits 'Cavuto: Coast To Coast' at FOX Studios on July 22, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by John Lamparski/Getty Images)
AMES, IA - JULY 18: Republican presidential candidate and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum fields questions at The Family Leadership Summit at Stephens Auditorium on July 18, 2015 in Ames, Iowa. According to the organizers, the purpose of The Family Leadership Summit is to inspire, motivate, and educate conservatives. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 19: Republican U.S. presidential hopeful and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) speaks during the 'Road to Majority' conference June 19, 2015 in Washington, DC. Conservatives gathered at the annual event held by the Faith & Freedom Coalition and Concerned Women for America to discuss politics and address current events. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Rick Santorum, former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania and 2016 Republican presidential candidate, speaks during an appearance on Bloomberg Television's 'With All Due Respect' in New York, U.S., on Thursday, June 11, 2015. Santorum, who opposes a path to legalization for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S., stopped short last week of calling for their deportation. Photographer: Louis Lanzano/Bloomberg via Getty Images
CABOT, PA - MAY 27: Former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) announces his candidacy for the 2016 Republican nomination for president at Penn United Technologies May 27, 2015 in Cabot, Pennsylvania, This is the second run for Santorum, who finished runner-up in 2012 to nominee Mitt Romney. (Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)
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He is facing much stauncher competition this time around, and he has not solved his biggest problem from 2012: money. He raised just over $600,000 in the latest fundraising quarter, the kind of money that doesn't bode well for staying power in a crowded field.

The state that provided his biggest win in 2012, Iowa, also hasn't given him the same kind of love. Despite focusing on the Hawkeye State, he still barely registers in polling there.

National polling average among Republican voters: 0.6% (11th)
Iowa: 1.5% (11th)
New Hampshire: 0.3% (T-13th)
South Carolina: N/A

STOCK: Neutral
Last month: 18

16. Bobby Jindal, Republican, Louisiana governor

Jindal not too long ago was one of the GOP's rising stars. But his stock both nationally and in his home state of Louisiana has plummeted over the past few years, as his state has fallen into financial disarray.

The result is what's showing up in polls: He has yet to be able to break out of the bottom of the GOP pack — even with a furious line of attack against front-runner Donald Trump.

Jindal and allied groups did raise $9 million in the most recent quarter, but he has missed out on both prime-time Republican debates.

See images of Jindal:

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National polling average among Republican voters: 0.4% (T-13th)
Iowa: 3% (9th)
New Hampshire: 0.1% (14th)
South Carolina: 0.7% (12th)


STOCK: Neutral
Last month: 17

15. Lindsey Graham, Republican, senator from South Carolina

Graham was the clear winner of the "kid's table" debate in September, but he has so far been unable to build any quantifiable momentum off it.

Graham is one of the more interesting candidates in the GOP field, but he is loathed by a segment of the party's base.

He supports immigration reform more than any other member of the field and spars with Donald Trump's comments on immigration. But far more voters, as polls have shown, have instead rallied around Trump.

See Graham's 2016 campaign:

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Lindsey Graham's 2016 campaign
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UNITED STATES - August 17: Republican presidential candidate Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., takes a bite out of a pork chop at the Iowa Pork Producers Association site at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, Iowa, Monday, August 17, 2015. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)
Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina and 2016 U.S. presidential candidate, speaks during the inaugural Roast and Ride in Boone, Iowa, U.S., on Saturday, June 6, 2015. Senator Joni Ernst, a Republican from Iowa, hosted the inaugural Roast and Ride event which featured a 38-mile ride from a Des Moines Harley Davidson dealership to the Central Iowa Expo where seven current and potential Republican presidential candidates are expected to participate. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina and 2016 U.S. presidential candidate, speaks during a campaign stop at a Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) post in Waterloo, Iowa, U.S., on Friday, June 5, 2015. Graham announced his campaign for president on Monday, emphasizing his centrist challenge to the Republican Party's base. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina and 2016 U.S. presidential candidate, racks pool balls during a campaign stop at a Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) post in Waterloo, Iowa, U.S., on Friday, June 5, 2015. Graham announced his campaign for president on Monday, emphasizing his centrist challenge to the Republican Party's base. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
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Graham is still barely registering in polls nationally and in the first two voting states. He has to hope his home state of South Carolina will rally around him for a shocker in the third contest early next year — if he stays around that long.

National polling average among Republican voters: 0.1% (14th)
Iowa: 0.3% (14th)
New Hampshire: 1% (10th)
South Carolina: 4% (7th)

STOCK: Rising
Last month: 19

14. Martin O'Malley, Democrat, former Maryland governor

O'Malley has watched as Bernie Sanders has rapidly become the progressive alternative to Hillary Clinton, outflanking O'Malley's attempt to outflank Clinton from the left.

He is still not well known nationally, and he has not been able to get his poll numbers up much since entering the race at the end of May.

Of course, as his campaign team will constantly point out, O'Malley has an extremely accomplished record as governor, with achievements — on immigration, criminal justice, gay marriage, and healthcare, among others — that he can legitimately flout to progressive voters.

Check out some facts to know about O'Malley:

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Martin O'Malley facts, things you should know
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1. The mayor on the hit tv-series "The Wire" is supposedly loosely based on O’Malley, who served as mayor of Baltimore.

(Photo credit Brendan Smilowski, AFP/Getty Images)

9. He is a native of Washington, D.C.

(Photo credit Jim Watson, AFP/Getty Images)

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But he hasn't been able to break out of the doldrums. O'Malley has to hope, at some point, that Sanders implodes and more progressive types in the base rally around him. A Joe Biden entry into the race would further complicate his picture.

See O'Malley on the trail:

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Martin O'Malley on the campaign trail
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POWER RANKINGS: Here's who has the best chance at being our next president
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 14: Democratic presidential candidate and former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley meets with gun safety advocates on September 14, 2015 in New York City. O'Malley's campaign has struggled to gain national attention in comparison to fellow Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
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National polling average among Democratic voters: 0.8% (T-4th)
Iowa: 3.8% (4th)
New Hampshire: 1.4% (4th)
South Carolina: 1% (5th)

STOCK: Neutral
Last month: 16

13. Chris Christie, Republican, New Jersey governor

Christie put in a solid performance in the second prime-time Republican presidential debate, as one poll put him fourth among the debate's "winners."

But Christie, whose national status has been in decline for the past 18 months, has failed to build much momentum in the first three months of his campaign.

He does seem to have a clear plan, based on his frequent visits north: He is banking on a win in New Hampshire to jump-start his run to the nomination.

But therein lies a problem: He's just ninth in the Granite State, according to a recent average of polls there. And a lot of similar candidates, including Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and John Kasich, are investing significant resources there.

See Christie's recent weight loss:

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Chris Christie weight loss
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BELMAR, NJ - MARCH 25: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie laughs during a Town Hall Meeting with families affected by Superstorm Sandy at Belmar Borough Municipal Building on March 25, 2014 in Belmar, New Jersey. Christie talked about some of the programs the state is running for homeowners, as well as efforts to build and restore dunes along the coast this spring,The governor was not asked about the George Washington Bridge lane-closure (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
BELMAR, NJ - MARCH 25: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speaks during a Town Hall Meeting with families affected by Superstorm Sandy at Belmar Borough Municipal Building on March 25, 2014 in Belmar, New Jersey. Christie talked about some of the programs the state is running for homeowners, as well as efforts to build and restore dunes along the coast this spring,The governor was not asked about the George Washington Bridge lane-closure (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
BELMAR, NJ - MARCH 25: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speaks during a Town Hall Meeting with families affected by Superstorm Sandy at Belmar Borough Municipal Building on March 25, 2014 in Belmar, New Jersey. Christie talked about some of the programs the state is running for homeowners, as well as efforts to build and restore dunes along the coast this spring,The governor was not asked about the George Washington Bridge lane-closure (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
KEANSBURG, NJ - FEBRUARY 04: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speaks during a press conference with families affected by Superstorm Sandy at a lounge in the New Point Comfort Fire Company on February 4, 2014 in Keansburg, New Jersey. Christie, whose governorship is being threatened by a scandal is facing federal investigation over use of Sandy funds. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
EWING, NJ - OCTOBER 30: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie updates members of the media on damage and recovery efforts related to Hurricane Sandy from the emergency operations center at State Police Headquarters on October 30, 2012 in Ewing, New Jersey. High winds and a massive storm surge caused major destruction to the Jersey Shore and throughout the Garden State. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 29: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie laughs while speaking during the Republican Jewish Coalition spring leadership meeting at The Venetian Las Vegas on March 29, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 28: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and his wife Mary Pat Christie look on during the regional semifinal of the 2014 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament between the Connecticut Huskies and the Iowa State Cyclones at Madison Square Garden on March 28, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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Christie's problems in his home state of New Jersey have been well documented, but they show no signs of abating. And he has a bit of a donor problem, too, though a super PAC supporting his run raised about $11 million in the latest fundraising quarter.

National polling average among Republican voters: 3.4% (8th)
Iowa: 1.3% (12th)
New Hampshire: 3% (9th)

STOCK: Neutral
Last month: 14

12. Mike Huckabee, Republican, former Arkansas governor

Huckabee has continued an attempt to endear himself to conservative, evangelical voters. He participated, for example, in a rally for Kim Davis, the embattled Kentucky county clerk. But there has been virtually no movement in his poll standing over the past month.

The debate earlier this month continued his inability to garner much buzz in his over four months on the campaign trail. And the first part of his plan — win Iowa — is in serious limbo: He polls just seventh in the Hawkeye State.

See Huckabee on the campaign trail:

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Mike Huckabee on the campaign trail
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POWER RANKINGS: Here's who has the best chance at being our next president
Former Arkansas governor and 2016 American Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee gestures during a press conference in Jerusalem on August 19, 2015. AFP PHOTO / GALI TIBBON (Photo credit should read GALI TIBBON/AFP/Getty Images)
Mike Huckabee, former Governor of Arkansas and 2016 Republican presidential candidate, speaks to attendees at the Iowa State Fair Soapbox in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S., on Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015. Huckabee said he believes his FairTax plan would get the U.S. growing at six percent 'or higher.' Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Mike Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas and 2016 Republican presidential candidate, looks on as his wife Janet Huckabee, not pictured, introduces him before he speaks during a campaign stop at Northside Cafe in Winterset, Iowa, U.S., on Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2015. Huckabee will speak at the Iowa State Fair's political soapbox tomorrow. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Mike Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas and 2016 Republican presidential candidate, speaks to attendees during a campaign stop at Northside Cafe in Winterset, Iowa, U.S., on Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2015. Huckabee will speak at the Iowa State Fair's political soapbox tomorrow. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Former Arkansas governer Mike Huckabee participates in the Republican presidential primary debate on August 6, 2015 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Mike Huckabee, former Governor of Arkansas and Republican U.S. 2016 presidential candidate, arrives on stage to speak during the RISE Initiative black Christian summit in Tinley Park, Illinois, U.S., on Friday, July 31, 2015. Pursuing America's Greatness, the political action committee (PAC) supporting Huckabee, had nearly $3.5 million in cash on hand as of June 30, according to a Federal Election Commission (FEC) report. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
TINLEY PARK, IL - JULY 31: Republican presidential hopeful and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee speaks to the press after addressing the Freedom's Journal Institute for the Study of Faith and Public Policy 2015 Rise Initiative on July 31, 2015 in Tinley Park, Illinois. The event was billed as a 'frank discussion on defending the sanctity of life from conception to natural death'. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
TINLEY PARK, IL - JULY 31: Republican presidential hopeful and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee leaves after speaking to guests at the Freedom's Journal Institute for the Study of Faith and Public Policy 2015 Rise Initiative on July 31, 2015 in Tinley Park, Illinois. The event was billed as a 'frank discussion on defending the sanctity of life from conception to natural death'. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
MANNING, SC - JULY 19: Republican presidential candidate and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee attends the Faith and Freedom Sunday service at the Rock Hill Missionary Baptist Church on July 19, 2015 in Manning, South Carolina. After the service the former Governor mixed with the church parishioners. (Photos by Charles Ommanney/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Mike Huckabee, former Governor of Arkansas and 2016 U.S. presidential candidate, speaks during The Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa, U.S., on Saturday, July 18, 2015. The sponsor, The FAMiLY LEADER, is a 'pro-family, pro-marriage, pro-life organization which champions the principle that God is the ultimate leader of the family.' Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Republican Presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee speaks to the media shortly before his speech at the 10th Annual Christians United for Israel Summit on July 13, 2015, at the Washington Convention Center, in Washington, DC. AFP PHOTO/PAUL J. RICHARDS (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JULY 6 - GOP presidential hopeful and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee hugs a supporter after the Presidential Town Hall series, hosted by Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., at the Civic Center of Anderson in Anderson, S.C. on Monday, July 6, 2015. Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)
Mike Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas and Republican 2016 U.S. presidential candidate, speaks during the inaugural Roast and Ride in Boone, Iowa, U.S., on Saturday, June 6, 2015. Senator Joni Ernst, a Republican from Iowa, hosted the inaugural Roast and Ride event which featured a 38-mile ride from a Des Moines Harley Davidson dealership to the Central Iowa Expo where seven current and potential Republican presidential candidates are expected to participate. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Mike Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas, announces he will seek the Republican presidential nomination at Hempstead Hall in Hope, Arkansas, U.S., on Tuesday, May 5, 2015. The 59-year-old former talk-show host and Christian preacher is expected to tout his decade of experience leading Arkansas and his conservative credentials to persuade voters they should hand him the 2016 Republican nomination. Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images
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This Republican field may be too crowded for a candidate like Huckabee. He is extremely popular with evangelical conservatives, but many of those conservatives look as if they're flocking to candidates such as Ben Carson and Ted Cruz.

National polling average among Republican voters: 3.2% (9th)
Iowa: 4.3% (7th)
New Hampshire: 0.7% (11th)
South Carolina: 3% (9th)

STOCK: Neutral
Last month: 13

11. Rand Paul, Republican, senator from Kentucky

Paul is the unconventional candidate of the Republican field. But he has so far been unable to latch on and break through as a clear top-tier candidate. And his problems have only been exacerbated over the past few months.

Two of his political allies were indicted in a campaign finance fraud scheme in the summer. Paul has been plunging in polls over the past two months, and he did nothing to help his cause in the first two Republican debates.

See how Rand Paul taunted Hillary Clinton on election night 2014:

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Rand Paul taunts Hillary Clinton on Election night
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U.S Senator Rand Paul taunted Hillary Clinton Tuesday by posting a series of photos of the former secretary of state alongside various Democratic 2014 candidates who lost their races. 
U.S Senator Rand Paul taunted Hillary Clinton Tuesday by posting a series of photos of the former secretary of state alongside various Democratic 2014 candidates who lost their races. 
U.S Senator Rand Paul taunted Hillary Clinton Tuesday by posting a series of photos of the former secretary of state alongside various Democratic 2014 candidates who lost their races. 
U.S Senator Rand Paul taunted Hillary Clinton Tuesday by posting a series of photos of the former secretary of state alongside various Democratic 2014 candidates who lost their races. 
U.S Senator Rand Paul taunted Hillary Clinton Tuesday by posting a series of photos of the former secretary of state alongside various Democratic 2014 candidates who lost their races. 
U.S Senator Rand Paul taunted Hillary Clinton Tuesday by posting a series of photos of the former secretary of state alongside various Democratic 2014 candidates who lost their races. 
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Of particular note is his drop in Iowa, where he has fallen from second (9.8%) in July to eighth now (2.4%).

National polling average among Republican voters: 2.4% (10th)
Iowa: 3.8% (8th)
New Hampshire: 3.7% (8th)
South Carolina: 2.3% (10th)

STOCK: Falling
Last month: 11

10. Bernie Sanders, Democrat, senator from Vermont

Sanders continues to make inroads against Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton, and he now holds a comfortable lead against her in New Hampshire. It's part of a stunning rise that has fueled doubts about Clinton's candidacy.

There are questions about whether he's a legitimate threat in the long haul, though, as well as questions about his viability as a potential nominee in a general election.

But Sanders' campaign alone raised $15 million in the most recent fundraising quarter, more than any Republican presidential candidate. His momentum, and the grassroots support and donations behind it, have evoked comparisons to then-Sen. Barack Obama's rise in 2008.

See some of the huge crowds Bernie's been getting on the campaign trail:

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PHOENIX, AZ - MARCH 15: Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) speaks to a crowd gathered at the Phoenix Convention Center during a campaign rally on March 15, 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona. Hillary Clinton won the Democratic primary elections in Florida, North Carolina and Ohio, while Missouri and Illinois remain tight races. (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)
DES MOINES, IA - JANUARY 26: Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks to the media after holding a campaign event with United Steelworkers Local 310L, on January 26, 2016 in Des Moines, Iowa. Sanders continues his quest to become the Democratic presidential nominee.. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - US Senator and Democratic Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders speaks during a campaign event at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, Iowa, January 24, 2016, ahead of the Iowa Caucus. / AFP / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, participates in the Democratic presidential candidate debate in Charleston, South Carolina, U.S., on Sunday, Jan. 17, 2016. Hours before Sunday's Democratic debate, the two top Democratic contenders held a warm-up bout of sorts in multiple separate appearances on political talk shows, at a time when the polling gap between the pair has narrowed in early-voting states. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 05: Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) shakes hands with supporters after outlining his plan to reform the U.S. financial sector on January 5, 2016 in New York City. Sanders is demanding greater financial oversight and greater government action for banks and individuals that break financial laws. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
LEBANON, NH - NOVEMBER 11: Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders (I-VT) marches in the Veterans Day Parade November 11, 2015 in Lebanon, New Hampshire. Sanders goes into the Democrats second debate this weekend still running strong in the polls.(Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images)
Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, speaks at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute conference in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015. While next Tuesday's first Democratic presidential debate will probably lack the name-calling and sharp jabs of the Republican face-offs, there's still potential for strong disagreements between the party's leading contenders. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Democratic Presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders speaks about the Workplace Democracy Act on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on October 6, 2015. AFP PHOTO/JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
US Senator from Vermont and Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders addresses striking low-wage contract workers from the US Capitol and religious leaders at the Lutheran Church of the Reformation in Washington, DC, on September 22, 2015 for an interfaith service ahead of the arrival of Pope Francis for a six-day visit to the US. AFP PHOTO/NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, NH - SEPTEMBER 19: Democratic Presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) talks on stage during the New Hampshire Democratic Party State Convention on September 19, 2015 in Manchester, New Hampshire. Five Democratic presidential candidates are all expected to address the crowd inside the Verizon Wireless Arena. (Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images)
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Sanders may not have the clout to win a nomination, but he continues to put himself in prime position to influence the Democratic debate.

National polling average among Democratic voters: 27.6% (2nd)
Iowa: 33.3% (2nd)
New Hampshire: 43.4% (1st)
South Carolina: 16% (3rd)

STOCK: Neutral
Last month: 10

9. John Kasich, Republican, Ohio governor

Kasich was one of the biggest winners of the first prime-time Republican debate in August. His performance in this month's second debate was less memorable, but he continues to make inroads as a candidate.

He remains in strong position in New Hampshire, where he has become a prime establishment candidate to win the state and grab key early momentum.

Those who talk up Kasich believe he is a Chris Christie type without the baggage of the past year and a half — that is, a successful governor with a record to point to and clear bipartisan appeal. He also has a plethora of experience from serving nearly two decades in Congress, including foreign-policy areas and his time as chair of the House Budget Committee.

See Kasich hit the trail:

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John Kasich on the campaign trail
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MILFORD, NH - SEPTEMBER 7: Republican presidential candidate John Kasich greets supporters at the Labor Day parade on September 7, 2015 in Milford, New Hampshire. Kasich, buoyed by what observers called a strong performance in the first GOP debate, has emerged as a first tier presidential candidate with voters in New Hampshire, the nation's first primary state. (Photo by Kayana Szymczak/Getty Images)
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It remains to be seen whether that same bipartisan brand could hurt Kasich with the GOP base. He is to the left of most GOP candidates on immigration reform, and he expanded the federal Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act — two issues that could doom him with conservatives.

And he hasn't yet caught on nationally — he's just seventh overall in an average of national Republican voters.

National polling average among Republican voters: 3.6% (7th)
Iowa: 2.8% (10th)
New Hampshire: 9% (4th)
South Carolina: 3.7% (8th)

STOCK: Neutral
Last month: 9

8. Ted Cruz, Republican, senator from Texas

Bloomberg's Al Hunt wrote last month that Cruz may be the most underestimated candidate in the race, carefully laying out a brilliant campaign strategy for the long haul.

Cruz remains in the middle of the GOP pack polling-wise, but his eye-popping fundraising numbers mean he will be a factor for a while.

The senator and allied super PACs raised more than $50 million in the most recent quarter to support his presidential bid, a number that put him behind only Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush (though Cruz did announce his candidacy before any other major candidate).

Learn some facts about Cruz you likely didn't know:

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9 Facts you should know about Ted Cruz
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1) His legal name is Rafael Edward Cruz.

(Photo: PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

3) He won his Senate seat in 2010 without ever having been elected to public office before. Prior to that he had been appointed to the office of the Solicitor General in Texas.  ​

(Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

4) He had a minor brush with the law in 1987 when he received a ticket for underage possession of alcohol as a senior in high school. ​

(Photo by: Lloyd Bishop/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

5) He has two Ivy League degrees: an undergraduate degree from Princeton, and a law degree from Harvard.

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

8) His father (left) fled Cuba for the United States, worked in the oil industry and eventually became a pastor. He has made headlines for somewhat inflammatory statements, including telling an audience that President Obama should be sent "back to Kenya."

(Ron T. Ennis/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT via Getty Images)

9) He doesn't believe in climate change, an issue many Democrats have lampooned him for, in part because he leads the Senate's Space, Science, and Competitiveness Committee which oversees NASA.​ During a recent appearance on "Late Night with Seth Meyers" Cruz said "Debates on this should follow science and should follow data. Many of the alarmists on global warming, they’ve got a problem because the science doesn’t back them up."

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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Cruz inspires a flood of enthusiasm among the GOP base, and he may be the best-positioned candidate from within the political sphere to back up the notion that he's not a typical politician — that he is the outsider the base wants despite his day job in Washington.

National polling average among Republican voters: 6.2% (6th)
Iowa: 7.8% (3rd)
New Hampshire: 6% (6th)
South Carolina: 5.7% (4th)

STOCK: Neutral
Last month: 7

7. Joe Biden, Democrat, vice president of the United States

Biden would have an uphill battle if he were to enter the race, which is becoming an increasingly likely proposition. But the past month has only boosted his stock as a potential candidate.

Lingering concerns over Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server, plus Biden's perceived legitimacy over Bernie Sanders as a potential nominee, would quickly vault him into the forefront of a hotly contested primary. (Keep in mind that the poll numbers below are from his being a theoretical candidate — he will most likely see a boost if he officially enters the race.)

Biden is also polling better against top Republican candidates than Clinton and Sanders, and a poll out Monday showed he could enter the race as the most popular candidate in the field.

Check out Biden's latest moves as he mulls a run:

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Joe Biden as he mulls over a presidential run
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NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 10: Stephen talks with Vice President Joe Biden, on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Thursday Sept 10, 2015 on the CBS Television Network. (Photo by Jeffrey R. Staab/CBS via Getty Images)
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His biggest problems entering so late would be formidable: He would have to raise a significant amount of money to compete with Clinton, and he would have to scramble to put together a campaign organization.

National polling average among Democratic voters: 20% (3rd)
Iowa: 14.8% (3rd)
New Hampshire: 13.2% (3rd)
South Carolina: 23% (2nd)

STOCK: Rising
Last month: 11

6. Carly Fiorina, Republican, former Hewlett-Packard CEO

Fiorina has jumped eight spots in our power rankings over the past two months — and with good reason.

A little more than a month after she stole the show with a stunning performance during the lower-tier Republican debate in August, she took it to the other candidates on the main stage earlier this month and produced another stellar debate performance.

See Fiorina hit the trail after her recent surge:

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Carly Fiorina on the campaign trail
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DAVENPORT, IA - SEPTEMBER 25: Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina addresses the Quad Cities New Ideas Forum at St. Ambrose University on September 25, 2015 in Davenport, Iowa. Fiorina is currently polling in second place behind Donald Trump for the Republican nomination. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
MYRTLE BEACH, SC - SEPTEMBER 22: Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina speaks to voters during a town hall meeting at the Ocean Reef Convention Center September 22, 2015 in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Fiorina is a former Chief Executive Officer of Hewlett-Packard and currently chairs the non-profit philanthropic organization Good360. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON -- Episode 0333 -- Pictured: (l-r) Politician Carly Fiorina during an interview with host Jimmy Fallon on September 21, 2015 -- (Photo by: Douglas Gorenstein/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
GREENVILLE, SC - SEPTEMBER 18: Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina speaks to voters at the Heritage Action Presidential Candidate Forum September 18, 2015 in Greenville, South Carolina. Ten republican candidates were each given 25 minutes to talk to the crowd at the Bons Secours Wellness Arena in the upstate of South Carolina. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
Republican presidential hopeful Carly Fiorina looks on during the Republican presidential debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California on September 16, 2015. Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump stepped into a campaign hornet's nest as his rivals collectively turned their sights on the billionaire in the party's second debate of the 2016 presidential race. AFP PHOTO / FREDERIC J. BROWN (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
DERRY, NH - SEPTEMBER 6: Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina campaigns in New Hampshire over Labour Day weekend and meets with locals at MaryAnn's Diner on September 6, 2015 in Derry, New Hampshire. (Photos by Charles Ommanney/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
LITTLETON, NEW HAMPSHIRE - AUGUST 20: Carly Fiorina meets New Hampshire voters at a Spaghetti Dinner in the north country of Littleton, New Hampshire on Thursday, August 20, 2015. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
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As a result, she has continued to surge in national polls as well as in the early states of Iowa and New Hampshire.

Her debate performances have cemented a candidacy that had gained a reliable following among the Republican base since her announcement, as she consistently drew some of the most head-nodding crowds at large GOP summits.

She has experience as an executive that few others in the field can point to, and she has been one of Hillary Clinton's fiercest critics. But she will face a significant test in her newfound position as one of the GOP's top-tier candidates, as she is under increased scrutiny over her rocky record at HP and her day-to-day activities on the campaign trail.

National polling average among Republican voters: 11.6% (3rd)
Iowa: 6.8% (4th)
New Hampshire: 11.3% (3rd)
South Carolina: 4.3% (T-5th)

STOCK: Rising
Last month: 9

5. Jeb Bush, Republican, former Florida governor

October could be a significant month for Bush's presidential candidacy.

Already, donors are sending warning signals that he needs to show growth as a candidate or face potential defections. Bush has not yet proved formidable as the front-runner for the nomination that many political observers assumed he would be.

See Jeb Bush through the years:

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Jeb and George Bush through the years
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President George Bush chats with brother Gov. Jeb Bush as they acknowledge cheering supporters at a fundraiser for the Republican Party of Florida at the Contemporary Resort at Disney World in Orlando, Florida, Friday, February 17, 2006. (Photo by Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/MCT via Getty Images)
MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, UNITED STATES: US President George W. Bush (R) reaches out to shake hands with his brother Florida Governor Jeb Bush (L) shortly after Air Force One arrived at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, 09 May 2006. AFP Photo/Paul J. Richards (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)
Washington, UNITED STATES: US President George W. Bush (L) looks on as his brother Florida Governor Jeb Bush speaks 19 April, 2006. Governor Bush was among several governors who met with the president after an Easter trip to Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait. AFP PHOTO/Jim WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
President George Bush (left) and brother Gov. Jeb Bush acknowledge cheering supporters at a fundraiser for the Republican Party of Florida at the Contemporary Resort at Disney World in Orlando, Florida, Friday, February 17, 2006. (Photo by Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/MCT via Getty Images)
ST. PETERSBURG, FL - OCTOBER 19: U.S. President George W. Bush (L) and his brother Florida Governor Jeb Bush (R) smile while greeting supporters during a campaign rally at Progress Energy Park October 19, 2004 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Recent polls indicate Bush is maintaining a slight lead over his Democratic challenger U.S. Sen. John Kerry (D-MA). (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 22: Jeb Bush is seen at Salt Lake City Airport on January 22, 2015 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by JOCE/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
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He has seen Donald Trump sap the momentum he had built after his official campaign announcement in June. He's had two middle-of-the-pack performances in the GOP debates. All of it has led to slumping poll numbers across the board — his 17% national average in July has dipped almost 8 points over the past two months.

Bush has showed, however, that he is a dynamite fundraiser, as his campaign and allied groups combined raised more than $114 million in the most recent quarter.

National polling average among Republican voters: 9.2% (5th)
Iowa: 5.3% (6th)
New Hampshire: 7.7% (5th)
South Carolina: 6.7% (3rd)

STOCK: Falling
Last month: 3

4. Marco Rubio, Republican, senator from Florida

Rubio is quickly becoming the establishment favorite for the Republican nomination.

He's a younger alternative in the Republican crowd, and he counts supporters among both the establishment and the more conservative GOP base. He has had strong performances in both prime-time GOP debates — particularly in the September affair, after which he and Carly Fiorina have surged.

He and Fiorina have also recently become the only candidates to successfully engage in back-and-forth attacks with Donald Trump.

Learn some interesting facts about Marco Rubio:

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10 facts about Marco Rubio
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1. His parents, Mario and Oria, are Cuban immigrants.

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

2. Attended Tarkio College for one year on a football scholarship before he later transferred to Santa Fe College. 

(REUTERS/Chris Keane)

3. When he was sworn into office in 2011, he said that he owed $100,000 of student loans which he finally paid off in 2012.

(Mary F. Calvert/MCT via Getty Images)

4. His wife of 17 years, Jeanette, is of Colombian descent and was once a Miami Dolphins cheerleader.

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

5. He went viral with a sip of water. Rubio gave the official Republican reaction to the State of the Union in 2013, but the only detail most people remembered was the moment in which he became so parched that he reached for a water bottle to quench his thirst.

(Photo by Brooks Kraft LLC/Corbis via Getty Images)

6. Though he was baptized as an infant in the Catholic church, he was also baptized as Mormon later in childhood when his family lived in Las Vegas. He is now a practicing Catholic.

(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

7. He teaches political science at Florida International University in Miami.

(Photo by Charles Ommanney for the Washington Post via Getty)

8. He says the first concert he ever attended was a Prince show.

(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via Getty)

9. His family used to call him Tony, which came from his middle name Antonio.

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

10. He was speaker of the Florida House before he was a U.S. Senator.

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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And Rubio and allied outside groups raised a combined $43.8 million in the latest quarter, so he clearly has the donor support to stick around for the long haul.

National polling average among Republican voters: 9.6% (4th)
Iowa: 5.8% (5th)
New Hampshire: 5% (7th)
South Carolina: 4.3% (T-5th)

STOCK: Rising
Last month: 6

3. Ben Carson, Republican, retired neurosurgeon

One of the biggest risers continues to be Carson, who has seen his support double since July in a recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll.

Like Trump, Carson is a Washington outsider who has shown he can appeal to a broader electorate — though almost no one inside the Beltway believes that he is a serious contender for the nomination.

See Carson in action on the campaign trail:

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Ben Carson on the campaign trail
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MT. AYR, IA - JANUARY 22 : Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson is introduced during his 'Trust in God Townhall' campaign stop January 22, 2016 in Mt. Ayr, Iowa. Carson, who is seeking the nomination from the Republican Party is on the presidential campaign trail across Iowa ahead of the Iowa Caucus taking place February 1. (Photo by Joshua Lott/Getty Images)
Ben Carson, 2016 Republican presidential candidate, speaks during a Liberty University Convocation in Lynchburg, Virginia, U.S., on Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2015. As retired neurosurgeon Carson has risen in the polls, media reports have revisited his accounts of acts of violence as a child, a key part of the redemption story he discusses on the campaign trail. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
PALM BEACH GARDENS, FL - NOVEMBER 06: Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson speaks to the media before speaking at a gala for the Black Republican Caucus of South Florida at PGA National Resort on November 6, 2015 in Palm Beach, Florida. Carson has come under media scrutiny for possibly exaggerating his background and other statements he has made recently. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
DES MOINES, IA - AUGUST 16: Republican presidential hopeful Ben Carson (L) eats a piece of pizza while touring the Iowa State Fair on August 16, 2015 in Des Moines, Iowa. Presidential candidates are addressing attendees at the Iowa State Fair on the Des Moines Register Presidential Soapbox stage and touring the fairgrounds. The State Fair runs through August 23. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
LAKEWOOD, CO - OCTOBER 29: Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson speaks during a news conference before a campaign event at Colorado Christian University on October 29, 2015 in Lakewood, Colorado. Ben Carson was back on the campaign trail a day after the third republican debate held at the University of Colorado Boulder. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 25: Scenes around the the Value Voters Summit on September 25, 2015 in Washington DC. Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson takes the stage at the event. Dr Carson speaks to the media after the speach. (Photos by Charles Ommanney/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Attendees wait for Ben Carson, 2016 Republican presidential candidate, not pictured, to arrive during a campaign stop at the birthplace of the Michigan Republican Party in Jackson, Michigan, U.S., on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015. Carson, the third candidate in the Republican race to have never held elected office, saw his numbers drop following the debate last week. Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Ben Carson, 2016 Republican presidential candidate, listens as he attends a service at Maple Street Missionary Baptist Church in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S., on Sunday, Aug. 16, 2015. Carson will be speaking at the Iowa State Fair, which is expected to host 18 presidential candidates and runs until Aug. 23. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
CLEVELAND, OH - AUGUST 06: Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson participates in the first prime-time presidential debate hosted by FOX News and Facebook at the Quicken Loans Arena August 6, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. The top-ten GOP candidates were selected to participate in the debate based on their rank in an average of the five most recent national political polls. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Ben Carson, 2016 Republican presidential candidate, eats a slice of pizza as he tours the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S., on Sunday, Aug. 16, 2015. In a Sunday interview with Fox News, Carson doubled down on his assertion that a speech given by President Barack Obama intended to sell the American public on his nuclear deal with Iran contained 'coded innuendos employing standard anti-Semitic themes.' Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
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Carson has also shown some fundraising prowess — he and allied groups raised $8.3 million in the most recent fundraising quarter, behind the combined totals of just six other GOP candidates.

Indeed, even some of the more controversial things to come out of Carson's mouth — such as his recent comments about Muslims — have only helped boost his fundraising numbers.

National polling average among Republican voters: 17% (2nd)
Iowa: 21.3% (2nd)
New Hampshire: 14.3% (2nd)
South Carolina: 19% (2nd)

STOCK: Neutral
Last month: 3

2. Donald Trump, Republican, businessman

Trump has lit the political world on fire since his entry into the race early this summer. And he has showed surprising staying power — even if his numbers are starting to show signs of plateauing.

There's a clear appetite among Republican primary voters for someone like Trump, whose claims about illegal immigration have again inflamed the debate over immigration reform. And with his claim that he is worth more than $10 billion, he will not be pressed for funds. He said he was willing to spend $100 million of his own fortune for the nomination.

Check out the many faces of Donald Trump:

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The many faces of Donald Trump
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FORT WORTH, TX - FEBRUARY 26: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a rally at the Fort Worth Convention Center on February 26, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas. Trump is campaigning in Texas, days ahead of the Super Tuesday primary. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gestures during a campaign rally in North Charleston, South Carolina, February 19, 2016. / AFP / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate businessman Donald Trump gestures during the Republican Presidential Debate, hosted by CNN, at The Venetian Las Vegas on December 15, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. AFP PHOTO/ ROBYN BECK / AFP / ROBYN BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally in North Charleston, South Carolina, February 19, 2016. / AFP / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
RENO, NV - JANUARY 10: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump holds a campaign rally at the Reno Event Center on January 10, 2016 in Reno, Nevada. Donald Trump continued to raise doubts Sunday about rival Ted Cruzs eligibility for the presidency, saying Republicans will risk losing a lawsuitand potentially the nations highest officeif they nominate Cruz as their candidate. (Photos by Charles Ommanney/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
MESA, AZ - DECEMBER 16: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to guest gathered during a campaign event at the International Air Response facility on December 16, 2015 in Mesa, Arizona. Trump is in Arizona the day after the Republican Presidential Debate hosted by CNN in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)
Republican Candidate Donald Trump arrives to speaks to the press with Rev. Darrell Scott(R), senior pastor of the New Spirit Revival Center in Cleveland Heights after meetings with prominent African American clerics at Trump Tower in New York November 30 ,2015. AFP PHOTO / TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
COLUMBUS, OH - NOVEMBER 23: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump addresses supporters during a campaign rally at the Greater Columbus Convention Center on November 23, 2015 in Columbus, Ohio. Trump spoke about immigration and Obamacare, among other topics, to around 14,000 supporters at the event. (Photo by Ty Wright/Getty Images)
DORAL, FL - OCTOBER 23: Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump attends a campaigns rally In Florida at the Trump National Doral on October 23, 2015 in Doral, Florida. Trump leads most polls in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. (Photo by Johnny Louis/FilmMagic)
COLUMBIA, SC - SEPTEMBER 23: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump leaves a campaign event September 23, 2015 in Columbia, South Carolina. Earlier today, Trump tweeted 'FoxNews has been treating me very unfairly & I have therefore decided that I won't be doing any more Fox shows for the foreseeable future.' (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 22: Donald Trump greets supporters, tourists and the curious after taping an interview with Anderson Cooper at a Trump owned building in mid-town Manhattan on July 22, 2015 in New York City. Trump, who is running for president on a Republican ticket, has come under intensifying criticism for his behavior on the campaign trail. The billionaire's most recent comments on Senator John McCain's war record in Vietnam have resulted in almost universal criticism from fellow candidates. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Donald Trump, president and chief executive of Trump Organization Inc. and 2016 Republican presidential candidate, left, looks on as Sam Clovis, newly appointed national co-chairman of Trumps campaign, speaks during a news conference ahead of a rally at Grand River Center in Dubuque, Iowa, U.S., on Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2015. President Barack Obama's top business ambassador dismissed Trump's call for a wall along the Mexico border, saying the U.S. is focused instead on expanding business with one of its biggest trade partners. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
BILOXI, MS - JANUARY 02: Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump pauses with supporters after speaking at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum on January 2, 2016 in Biloxi, Mississippi. Trump, who has strong support from Southern voters, spoke to thousands in the small Mississippi city on the Gulf of Mexico. Trump continues to split the GOP establishment with his populist and controversial views on immigration, muslims and some of his recent comments on women. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
LAREDO, TEXAS - JULY 23: Republican Presidential candidate and business mogul Donald Trump talks to the media at a press conference during his trip to the border on July 23, 2015 in Laredo, Texas. Trump's recent comments, calling some immigrants from Mexico as drug traffickers and rapists, have stirred up reactions on both sides of the aisle. Although fellow Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry has denounced Trump's comments and his campaign in general, U.S. Senator from Texas Ted-Cruz has so far refused to bash his fellow Republican nominee. (Photo by Matthew Busch/Getty Images)
DES MOINES, IA - AUGUST 15: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump eats a pork chop on a stick and gives a thumbs up sign to fairgoers at the Iowa State Fair on August 15, 2015 in Des Moines, Iowa. Presidential candidates are addressing attendees at the Iowa State Fair on the Des Moines Register Presidential Soapbox stage and touring the fairgrounds. The State Fair runs through August 23. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - AUGUST 06: Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump (R) and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker participate in the first prime-time presidential debate hosted by FOX News and Facebook at the Quicken Loans Arena August 6, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. The top-ten GOP candidates were selected to participate in the debate based on their rank in an average of the five most recent national political polls. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
OSKALOOSA, IA - JULY 25: Republican presidential hopeful businessman Donald Trump speaks to guests gathered for a rally on July 25, 2015 in Oskaloosa, Iowa. During his last visit to the state Trump sparked controversy when he said Senator John McCain (R-AZ), a former POW, was not a war hero. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
TURNBURRY, SCOTLAND - JUNE 08: Donald Trump Visits Turnberry Golf Club, after its $10 Million refurbishment, on June 8, 2015 in Turnberry, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
DERRY, NH - AUGUST 19: U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump hugs an American flag as he takes the stage for a town hall meeting in Derry, New Hampshire, August 19, 2015. (Keith Bedford/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
DES MOINES, IOWA - AUGUST 15: Donald Trump at the Iowa State Fair on August 14, 2015 in Des Moines, Iowa. The Iowa State Fair is one of the oldest and largest agricultural and industrial expositions in the United States. The annual fair, the largest event in Iowa, attracts over a million visitors each year. The fair runs through August 23. After a brief walk around its time for Mr Trump to board his club cart again and leave the fair. (Photos by Charles Ommanney/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
AYR, SCOTLAND - JULY 30: Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump visits his Scottish golf course Turnberry on July 30, 2015 in Ayr, Scotland. Donald Trump answered questions from the media at a press conference. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
TURNBURRY, SCOTLAND - JUNE 08: Donald Trump visits Turnberry Golf Club, after its $10 Million refurbishment on June 8, 2015 in Turnberry, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
Donald Trump, president and chief executive of Trump Organization Inc. and 2016 U.S. presidential candidate, gestures while speaking during The Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa, U.S., on Saturday, July 18, 2015. The sponsor, The FAMiLY LEADER, is a 'pro-family, pro-marriage, pro-life organization which champions the principle that God is the ultimate leader of the family.' Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 16: Donald Trump arrives at NBCUniversal's 2015 Winter TCA Tour - Day 2 at The Langham Huntington Hotel and Spa on January 16, 2015 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Angela Weiss/Getty Images)
Donald Trump, president and chief executive officer of Trump Organization Inc. and 2016 Republican presidential candidate, pauses while speaking during a news conference at Trump Towers in New York, U.S., on Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015. 'I have signed the pledge,' he said, referring to a document stating that he would not run as an independent candidate in the event that he does not win the Republican nomination. Photographer: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg via Getty Images
US tycoon Donald Trump arrives to speak at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at National Harbor, Maryland, outside Washington, on February 27, 2015. AFP PHOTO/NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
EDISON, NJ - AUGUST 30: A golf fan takes a 'selfie' with presidential candidate Donald Trump during the final round of The Barclays at Plainfield Country Club on August 30, 2015 in Edison, New Jersey. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
ABERDEEN, SCOTLAND - JULY 10: Donald Trump plays a round of golf after the opening of The Trump International Golf Links Course on July 10, 2012 in Balmedie, Scotland. The controversial £100m course opens to the public on Sunday July 15. Further plans to build hotels and homes on the site have been put on hold until a decision has been made on the building of an offshore windfarm nearby. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
BIRCH RUN, MI - AUGUST 11: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a press conference before delivering the keynote address at the Genesee and Saginaw Republican Party Lincoln Day Event August 11, 2015 in Birch Run, Michigan. This is Trump's first campaign event since his Republican debate last week. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)
BOCA RATON, FL - APRIL 16: Billionaire Donald Trump speaks to a crowd at the 2011 Palm Beach County Tax Day Tea Party April 16, 2011 at Sanborn Square in Boca Raton, Florida. Trump is considering a bid for the 2012 precidency and is expected to announce his running in the coming weeks. (Photo by John W. Adkisson/Getty Images)
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The next month could be crucial for Trump. With a media narrative forming around his poll numbers leveling off and his audience sizes decreasing somewhat, does that narrative take hold? Or does the Trump train keep gaining steam?

National polling average among Republican voters: 23.4% (1st)
Iowa: 27.3% (1st)
New Hampshire: 25.3% (1st)
South Carolina: 34.3% (1st)

STOCK: Neutral
Last month: 2

1. Hillary Clinton, Democrat, former secretary of state

Clinton is No. 1 here because she has proved formidable in both polling and fundraising — and she still looks to have a relatively easy path to the Democratic nomination, despite continued controversy over her use of a private email server as secretary of state.

But the summer has provided sign after sign of her potential vulnerabilities as a candidate. She has seen Sanders sap enthusiasm — and supporters — in key early states like Iowa and, especially, New Hampshire. Her popularity has plunged. And she trails a host of leading Republican candidates.

See the Clintons through the years:

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Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton through the years
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FILE WASHINGTON, DC - JAN 6, 1994: President Bill Clinton is escorted by Hillary to a waiting helicopter. The president was leaving for Arkansas after learning of the death of his mother. (Photo by Margaret Thomas/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) and US President barack Obama (R) are greeted by Myanmar pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi (C) at her residence in Yangon on November 19, 2012 . Obama arrived in Myanmar for a historic visit aimed at encouraging a string of dramatic political reforms in the former pariah state. AFP PHOTO / Nicolas ASFOURI (Photo credit should read NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP/Getty Images)
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) looks on as US President Barack Obama (2nd L) speaks during a bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda (2nd R) on the sidelines of the East Asian Summit at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh on November 20, 2012. During the two-day East Asia Summit in Phnom Penh, Obama was scheduled to hold talks with the leaders of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) along with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Japan's Yoshihiko Noda. AFP PHOTO / Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton board Air Force One at the airport in Yangon on November 19, 2012. Huge crowds greeted Barack Obama in Myanmar on the first visit by a serving US president to the former pariah state to encourage a string of startling political reforms. AFP PHOTO/Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama(2nd-L), First Lady Michelle Obama(L) along with former president Bill Clinton(3rd-L) and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton(4th-L) take part in a wreath-laying ceremony in honour of the late 35th president of the US John F. Kennedy at Kennedy's gravesite in Arlington National Cemetery on November 20, 2013 in Arlington, Virginia. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
BERLIN, GERMANY - JULY 06: Copies of the German translation of the book 'Hard Choices' ('Entscheidungen' in German) by Hillary Rodham Clinton, former United States Secretary of State, U.S. Senator, and First Lady of the United States, stand on display at the Staatsoper in the Schiller Theater on July 6, 2014 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images)
BERLIN, GERMANY - JULY 06: Hillary Rodham Clinton, former United States Secretary of State, U.S. Senator, and First Lady of the United States, speaks during the presentation of the German translation of her book 'Hard Choices' ('Entscheidungen' in German) at the Staatsoper in the Schiller Theater on July 6, 2014 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images)
AUSTIN, TX - JUNE 20: Hillary Rodham Clinton appears on stage during 'A Conversation With Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton' at the Long Center on June 20, 2014 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Gary Miller/Getty Images)
BERLIN, GERMANY - JULY 06: Hillary Rodham Clinton, former United States Secretary of State, U.S. Senator, and First Lady of the United States (R), speaks next to Christoph Amend, editor in chief of Zeit Magazin, during the presentation of the German translation of her book 'Hard Choices' ('Entscheidungen' in German) at the Staatsoper in the Schiller Theater on July 6, 2014 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images)
EAST HAMPTON, NY - AUGUST 16: Hillary Rodham Clinton signs copies of her book 'Hard Choices' at BookHampton on August 16, 2014 in East Hampton, New York. (Photo by Sonia Moskowitz/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - JULY 23: Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks during a during a round table event to launch the 'Talking is Teaching: Talk Read Sing' campaign at the Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute on July 23, 2014 in Oakland, California. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton launched the 'Talking is Teaching; Talk Read Sing' campaign in partnership withToo Small to Fail and the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Foundation that encourages parents and caregivers to close the word gap by talking, singing and reading to children every day from the birth. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 06: Former president of United States (US) Bill Clinton (R) and his wife, former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L), leave St. Ignatius Loyola Church after the funeral of former three-term governor Mario Cuomo on January 6, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Selcuk Acar/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
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Clinton has, however, cleaned up on the fundraising circuit. And she has taken a new approach to her candidacy over the past several weeks, giving interviews, telling jokes on late-night appearances, and taking stands on issues she had long avoided.

Overall, Clinton is a shaky No. 1 at this point. But she still has the easiest path to the nomination. If Biden does decide to run, that path will become much more difficult.

National polling average among Democratic voters: 40.8% (1st)
Iowa: 38.5% (1st)
New Hampshire: 31.8% (2nd)
South Carolina: 50% (1st)

STOCK: Neutral
Last month: 1

And to the polls ... here's a look at where the candidates stand in their respective parties in a combined average of national, New Hampshire, Iowa, and South Carolina polls.

Andy Kiersz/Business Insider

One of the candidates is not like the others ...

A look back at Donald Trump's most legendary insults — and how his targets responded >

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