Looking ahead to 2016, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is the odds on favorite against Vice President Joe Biden among Iowa Democrats for her party’s nomination. But, she would find a general election matchup against either Kentucky Senator Rand Paul or New Jersey Governor Chris Christie very competitive. Clinton edges former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, and has an early lead over Florida Senator Marco Rubio, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. There is a wide gender gap in these matchups. Although each of the potential Republican candidates has a more positive than negative rating with GOP voters, all but Paul and Rubio are upside down when it comes to Iowa residents’ impressions of the Republican candidates.
But, first things first, one in five 2016 potential Republican caucus goers are unsure who they support for their presidential nominee, and no single potential candidate has broken out of the pack. Jeb Bush, Rand Paul, and Paul Ryan have low double-digit support among potential Republican caucus attendees in the state.
On the Democratic side, seven in ten support Clinton over Biden. Even though Clinton is more popular, both receive positive scores from most Democrats. Clinton is viewed favorably by a majority of Iowans. Not so for Biden whose negatives among state residents exceed his positives, overall.
“In a state Obama carried twice, Hillary Clinton would find Rand Paul and Chris Christie formidable opponents in the battle for Iowa’s six electoral votes,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “The contest narrows in these two matchups because Paul and Christie do better with independent voters than do the other Republicans.”
- Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton is closely matched against potential GOP rivals Rand Paul, 45% to 45%, and Chris Christie, 44% to 43%, among Iowa’s registered voters. Clinton has a narrow lead over Jeb Bush, 46% to 42%.
- In these contests, Clinton and each of the potential Republican contenders, Paul, Christie, and Bush, are competitive among independents.
- Clinton is ahead of Marco Rubio, 49% to 40%; Ted Cruz, 49% to 37%; and Scott Walker, 50% to 37%.
- Regardless of the potential GOP opponent against Clinton, there is a wide gender gap.
- A majority of Iowans, 52%, have a positive impression of Hillary Clinton, and 42% have a negative view of her. In contrast, more state residents, 48%, have an unfavorable opinion of Joe Biden, and 39% have a favorable one.
- Rand Paul has a 38% favorable and a 36% unfavorable rating, and Marco Rubio has a 30% favorable and a 28% unfavorable score. They are the only two Republicans who are not viewed more negatively than positively by Iowans.
- Scott Walker, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, and Jeb Bush have higher negative scores than positive.
GOP: No Leader of the Pack
- 20% of the potential Republican electorate in Iowa are undecided about their choice for a 2016 GOP nominee. Bush at 12%, Paul at 12%, and Ryan at 11% are the only potential candidates in double-digits.
- The contest hardly clarifies when potential Republican caucus goers are asked their second choice. Bush at 12%, Santorum, Ryan, and Perry each at 11%, and Paul at 10% are the only potential candidates who attract double-digit support as a second choice.
- All the potential GOP candidates are more popular than unpopular among Iowa Republicans. Rand Paul is liked best by Iowa Republicans. 66% of Republicans have a positive view of him, and only 18% have a negative impression of him. A majority of state Republicans also have a favorable view of Bush, 63%, and Rubio, 57%. 50% have a positive impression of Christie.
Dems: Clinton Strong Front-runner
- Hillary Clinton receives the support of 70% of the potential Democratic electorate compared with 20% for Joe Biden.
- Most Democrats in the state, 89%, have a favorable impression of Clinton. Only 6% view her unfavorably. Joe Biden is also popular among Iowa Democrats. 72% view him positively, and just 18% see him in a negative light.