Speculation about who the presidential candidates will be in 2016 is a year round sport. On the Democratic side, much attention has been given to the possible candidacies of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden. How do the two run against potential Republican candidates? With the exception of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Clinton receives majority support nationally and outdistances her possible rivals by double digits. Biden also does well except against Christie where both candidates are locked in a close contest.
“This is, of course, a very early peek at the 2016 presidential contest,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “But, these matchups underscore the message from 2012: the GOP still has work to do to get ready for the next presidential go around.”
Among registered voters nationally, here is how Hillary Clinton fares against potential Republican candidates:
- New Jersey Governor Chris Christie runs competitively against Clinton. In fact, he is the only Republican challenger tested that keeps her numbers under majority support. Clinton garners the backing of 46% of registered voters nationally while Christie has the support of 43%. 11% are undecided. Not surprisingly, the partisan divide is wide. 81% of Democrats support Clinton while 82% of Republicans back Christie. Independent voters divide. 43% favor Clinton and 40% are for Christie. A notable 18% are undecided.
- Clinton fares best against former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. 54% of voters back Clinton compared with 38% for Bush. Eight percent are undecided. While a partisan divide exists, Clinton receives majority support — 52% — among independents. Bush has the support of 35% of these voters. 13% are undecided.
- Clinton also has a double-digit lead against Florida Senator Marco Rubio. Here, 52% of voters favor Clinton while 40% are for Rubio. Eight percent are undecided. More independent voters are in Hillary Clinton’s camp. Nearly half — 49% — are behind Clinton compared with 37% for Rubio.
- Against Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, Clinton also has a strong lead. 52% of voters support Clinton compared with 41% for Paul. Seven percent are undecided. While the candidates’ support is along party lines, independents divide. 47% back Clinton compared with 45% for Paul.
Looking at Biden’s chances, among registered voters nationally:
- Against Chris Christie, the two are neck and neck. Christie receives the support of 46% of registered voters nationally while Biden garners 43%. 11% are undecided. Not surprisingly, there is a partisan divide, but Christie — 47% — has the advantage over Biden — 35% — among independent voters. 18% of independents are undecided.
- Biden has his largest lead against Marco Rubio. Here, Biden receives majority support. 53% back Biden while 39% are for Rubio. Eight percent of voters are undecided. Again, there is a partisan divide. Biden, though, receives the backing of half — 50% — of independent voters nationally while 36% are behind Rubio. 14% are undecided.
- Against Rand Paul, 50% are for Biden compared with 41% for Paul. Eight percent are undecided. Independent voters are the key. A plurality — 47% — favor Biden while 39% rally for Paul. A notable 14% are undecided.
- Biden garners the support of 49% of registered voters against Jeb Bush — 41%. 10% are undecided. Among independent voters, 43% back Biden while 41% are behind Bush. Nearly one in five independent voters — 17% — is undecided.