Quinnipiac has Paul ahead of Hillary in Colorado and Iowa, two key "Bush 2004" states which are essential elements of the very tight GOP path to Electoral College victory. The Electoral college is of course all that matters as G.W. Bush's win in 2008, where he finished half a million or so votes behind Al Gore, showed.
Unfortunately, at this early stage of course, for Paul the third state in the Quinnipiac report, Virginia, showed a different story.
Virginia, once the rock of the "Solid South' then a similar rock for conservative Republican presidential candidates has seen a strong demographic shift with substantial mgration from the D.C. and surrounds into Northern Virginia. This, and other factors, gave then Senator Barack Obama a landslide victory in 2008 by 6.3 points.
Obama carried it by a still comfortable 3.88 points in 2012. That Clinton is running slightly higher than Obama's final margin at this point is not good news for Paul-especially as speculation was that without President Obama as the candidate Black turnout might be lower.
Certainly Paul is doing better than Messrs.Rubio/Walker/Cruz/Bush in Virginia who are running between seven and ten points behind Hillary but, again, no better than Romney did in 2012.
Why is Virginia so important-the map says it all.
Paul would have to win Florida and Ohio, without which it would be game over right from the start as there is no realistic path to victory without Florida's massive 29 Electoral votes, nor Ohio without which no Republican has been elected president.
But even if those two states were won, if Virginia is lost then Paul is one vote short (as 269 tie would see the Republican dominated House choose the president).
It may be that New Hampshire goes maverick, as it did in 2000 when its 4 votes ensured G W Bush's presidency, and goes for the libertarian minded Paul which would put him over the top. On the other hand Paul only leads Hillary by one point in Iowa, basically a tie (she leads all the other Republicans there) so a loss there would doom Paul in this scenario.
Certainly it is early days and anything can happen, but without Virginia the path to Electoral College victory is extremely narrow and being behind by such a comparatively large margin is a poor situation for Paul or any Republican.
The first GOP candidate who shows a continuous lead in Virginia/Ohio/Florida is the one to consider as the best placed to defeat Hillary Clinton-so far there is no indication of such a person