Some time back, we added 24 x 7 and the permanent campaign to America’s political lexicon. But, it sure seems like we are pushing the envelope this time around with about 20 GOP wannabes off and (almost) running for their party’s nomination. On the Democratic side, things are atypically more organized with Hillary Clinton pretty much jogging around the track by herself. Cast in the role of inevitable this election cycle may play out better for her at least as far as the Democratic nod is concerned.
Last night, I was co-teaching Political Communication at Marist College along with Mary Griffith, The Marist Poll’s director of Media Initiatives and Polling News. The discussion moved onto the 1968 campaign and how Robert Kennedy didn’t declare his candidacy until that March after the New Hampshire primary. Recognizing that the rules of selecting nominees are wholly different than they were back then when I was still in high school… nonetheless, this drawn out testing of the waters, forming exploratory committees, and then, finally taking the plunge seems a bit overplayed this time.
Now, we are as guilty as anyone else, although not perhaps as guilty as the potential candidates, on jumping the starting gun. We have already conducted a series of polls, along with our NBC News media partner, of Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. We have also done several national trial heats with the McClatchy News Service.
So, 24 X 7 and the permanent campaign welcome to 2016!
2/15: 2016 Wide Open GOP Field in Early Caucus and Primary States… Clinton Solid Front-Runner on Democratic Side
Taking an early look at the key presidential caucus and primary states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, a Republican front-runner fails to emerge. In Iowa, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker vie for the top spot among the state’s potential Republican electorate.
In New Hampshire, Bush, Walker, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie each receives double-digit support. Turning to South Carolina, the state’s favorite son, Senator Lindsey Graham, battles Bush, Walker, Huckabee, and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson for the lead.
The picture is much clearer on the Democratic side. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is the odds-on favorite for her party’s nomination. Clinton outpaces her closest Democratic competitors by very wide margins in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina.
However, in hypothetical general election matchups, despite edging her GOP rivals in Iowa and New Hampshire, Clinton falls short of 50% in each of the three states polled. In South Carolina, when paired against Bush or Walker, Clinton garners about what President Obama received in 2012 against Mitt Romney.
“Top tier? The morning line for these critical states points to a rough and tumble Republican nomination battle. Seven of the 11 potential GOP candidates has double-digit support in, at least, one of the states, but no one breaks 20% anywhere,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “Not so for the Democrats where Hillary Clinton has a commanding lead.”
Republicans and Democrats Satisfied with Candidates
- 65% of the Iowa potential Republican electorate are satisfied with the choice of candidates they have for the nomination. 25% are dissatisfied. On the Democratic side, 60% of the Iowa potential Democratic electorate are pleased with their party’s candidates for the nomination, and 27% are dissatisfied.
- 59% of the New Hampshire potential Republican electorate are satisfied with their candidate options while 28% would prefer to see someone else emerge. Looking at the Democratic side, 61% of the New Hampshire potential Democratic electorate are happy with their choices for the nomination. 27% are not.
- 64% of the South Carolina potential Republican electorate are pleased with their primary options while 25% are displeased. 72% of the South Carolina potential Democratic electorate are satisfied with their party’s primary candidates. 18% are not.
- 55% of South Carolina residents do not think Senator Lindsey Graham should run for president in 2016. 36% think he should toss his hat into the ring. The potential Republican electorate in the state mirrors the opinions of residents.
Clinton Ahead in Iowa and New Hampshire, Not in South Carolina
- Among registered voters in Iowa, Clinton, 48%, is ahead of Bush, 40%. Clinton, 49%, also outpaces Walker, 38%, statewide.
- In New Hampshire, Clinton, 48%, edges Bush, 42%. Against Walker, Clinton has 49% to 42% for Walker.
- Bush, receives 48%, and Clinton, 45%, in South Carolina. Clinton garners 46%, and Walker receives 46% when matched in the state.
Voters on the Issues
In Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, more than six in ten voters in each state find a candidate who favors raising taxes on the wealthy to be acceptable. This is especially true in Iowa, where 73% of voters have this view. Majorities of voters in all three states also find a candidate who supports repealing the federal health care law, who backs immigration reform, or who promotes action to combat climate change to be preferable. A candidate who supports Common Core education or favors increased military action against ISIS is also deemed satisfactory to majorities of voters in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina.
However, registered voters are less likely to find a candidate who opposes same-sex marriage to be acceptable.
On many of these questions, there is a notable divide between the potential Republican and Democratic electorates.
Residents in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina consider job creation to be the most important issue in the 2016 election. Jobs and the economy is also the most pressing concern for the potential Democratic and Republican electorates with the exception of Iowa where the deficit and government spending is the top priority for the potential Republican electorate for 2016.
- 30% of adults in Iowa consider job creation and economic growth to be the most important issue in the 2016 presidential election. Deficit and government spending, 21%, military action against ISIS, 17%, and health care, 15%, follow. 11% cite income equality while looking out for the interests of women is the priority for 3% of Iowa residents.
- Among Iowa’s potential Republican electorate, the deficit and government spending, 32%, tops the list followed by military action against ISIS, 25%, and jobs, 23%. The potential Democratic electorate prioritizes jobs, 32%, followed by health care, 20%, and income equality, 19%.
- There is little consensus about Iowans’ second most pressing issue. Similar proportions of adults mention job creation, 24%, health care, 22%, and the deficit and government spending, 20%. 15% put military action against ISIS at the top of their list while 12% cite income equality. Six percent select looking out for the interests of women.
- Job creation and economic growth, 33%, is the most important issue to New Hampshire adults. The deficit and government spending, 19%, health care, 18%, and military action against ISIS, 14% follow. 11% place income equality at the top of their priority list while only 2% think looking out for the interests of women to be the most important issue in the upcoming election.
- When looking at New Hampshire’s potential Republican electorate, jobs, 33%, rank number one. The deficit and government spending with 28% and military action against ISIS at 20% follow. Among the potential Democratic electorate, jobs, 34%, is tops followed by health care and income equality, each at 21%.
- When it comes to the second choice issue for New Hampshire adults, job creation and economic growth, 22%, and health care, 22%, top the list. Military action against ISIS, 20%, and the deficit and government spending, 18%, are close behind. Income equality, 9%, and looking out for the interests of women, 7%, round out the list.
- 32% of South Carolina adults think the key issue in the 2016 election is job creation and economic growth. Health care, 20%, military action against ISIS, 18%, and the deficit and government spending, 15%, also rate highly. Eight percent believe income equality is the most crucial topic of discussion while women’s interests receive 3%.
- South Carolina’s potential Republican electorate points to jobs, 29%, as the top priority for 2016. The issues of military action against ISIS with 28% and the deficit and government spending at 24% are also seen as important. For South Carolina’s potential Democratic electorate, jobs, 35%, is crucial followed by health care, 28%, and income equality, 15%.
- Looking at the second most important issue for South Carolina adults, 25% choose job creation and economic growth. 23% select health care and 22% pick the deficit and government spending. 14% mention military action against ISIS, and 8% cite income equality. Seven percent think looking out for the interests of women should be the priority.
U.S. Senate Race in New Hampshire Competitive
Looking at the 2016 election for U.S. Senate in New Hampshire, Democratic Governor Maggie Hassan and incumbent Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte are closely matched.
- 48% of New Hampshire registered voters support Hassan in the race for U.S. Senate while Ayotte garners 44%. Seven percent are undecided.
Approval Rating Roundup
In Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, President Barack Obama’s job performance rating is upside down. The governors in each state are rated highly.
- 49% of Iowans disapprove of how President Obama is doing his job while 43% approve.
- 50% of New Hampshire residents disapprove of President Obama’s job performance. 43% approve.
- 51% of South Carolinians disapprove of how Mr. Obama is performing in office. 44% approve.
- More than six in ten Iowa residents, 64%, approve of the job Governor Terry Branstad is doing in office. 28% disapprove.
- In New Hampshire, 68% of residents approve of how Governor Maggie Hassan is doing her job. 23% disapprove.
- In South Carolina, 61% of residents approve of the job performance of Governor Nikki Haley. 32% disapprove.
2/12: Obama’s Request for Military Action against ISIS Receives Majority Support…Many Americans Say Boots on the Ground are Needed
In a poll conducted just hours after President Barack Obama made the case for congressional authorization to use military force against ISIS, a majority of Americans tells the NBC News/Marist Poll they support their congressperson voting for the use of U.S. military action against the Islamic militants. However, residents divide about whether or not President Obama’s proposal will receive bipartisan support. With nearly seven in ten residents saying they are aware of the president’s request, the news of possible military action against ISIS has permeated Americans’ consciousness.
While the president is requesting limited use of U.S. ground troops, where do Americans stand? About two-thirds say at least some presence of ground forces are needed. In fact, about one in four Americans thinks a large number of boots on the ground is necessary. Not surprisingly, partisan differences exist.
Despite many Americans’ belief that the U.S and its allies will be victorious in defeating ISIS, confidence in President Obama’s strategy to combat ISIS is mixed.
When it comes to President Obama’s legacy, Americans divide about whether the president will be remembered more for ending a war or for starting a new one.
“This challenge will bear on the president’s legacy,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “By nearly two to one, Democrats think President Obama will still be remembered for ending a war, but by more than three to one, Republicans see the president’s legacy as having started a new one.”
- 54% of Americans want their member of Congress to vote to authorize U.S. military action against ISIS. 32% are against such approval, and more than one in ten, 13%, is unsure. A majority of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents think their congressional representative should support the president’s request.
- Residents divide about whether President Obama’s proposal will have bipartisan support in Congress. 44% think it will not, and 40% believe it will. 16% are unsure. A majority of Democrats, 56%, and a plurality of Republicans, 44%, say the president’s plan will not receive bipartisan support. A notable 20% of Republicans are unsure. Independents divide. 44% think partisanship will be put aside while 43% believe it will be front and center in the debate.
- About two-thirds of Americans, 66%, think U.S. boots on the ground are necessary, to some degree, to combat ISIS. This includes 26% who support sending a large number of U.S. ground forces and 40% who back deploying a limited number of troops on the ground. 26% do not want any ground forces involved, and 7% are unsure.
- Views about the use of ground troops differ based on party. 38% of Republicans, compared with 16% of Democrats and 25% of independents, support sending a large number of ground forces.
- Many Americans, 66%, are optimistic that the U.S. and its allies will defeat ISIS. There is little partisan difference of opinion on this question.
- Looking at Americans’ level of confidence in President Obama’s strategy to combat ISIS, there is a divide. 48% do not have very much faith in the president’s approach. 45% express confidence in the president’s proposal. Not surprisingly, 82% of Republicans have little or no confidence in the president’s military strategy. Most Democrats, 71%, are confident in the president’s approach. Independents are more divided: 44% express confidence and 49% do not.
- When it comes to President Obama’s legacy, 44% of Americans say President Obama will be remembered more for starting a new war than ending one. 40% think the opposite will be true. A notable, 16%, are unsure. More than six in ten Republicans, 62%, and a majority of independents, 51%, believe President Obama’s legacy will be defined by beginning a new war. 59% of Democrats think he will be remembered for ending a war.
- 69% of Americans have heard about the president’s request to use U.S. military force against ISIS, and 31% have not.
For the sixth consecutive year, “whatever” tops the list as the most annoying word or phrase used in casual conversation. Americans’ irritability about the term crosses most demographic groups. However, in the Northeast, “like” and “whatever” are almost equally irksome. Americans younger than 30 are the least likely to be perturbed by hearing “whatever.”
Which word or phrase is thought to be the most overused in 2014? “Selfie” earns that dubious distinction. While there is a consensus among most groups, a plurality of residents under 30 consider “hashtag” to be the word or phrase used too often during the last year.
- A plurality of Americans, 43%, thinks “whatever” is the most annoying word or phrase used in casual conversation. “Like” is the most irritating for 23% of the population while “literally” gets on the nerves of 13%. One in ten residents, 10%, reports “awesome” grates on them while 8% would prefer not to hear “with all due respect.” Last year, “whatever,” 38%, defeated “like” which received 22%, “you know” which had 18%, “just sayin’” which garnered 14%, and “obviously” which was cited by 6%.
- Regional differences exist. Residents in the South, 50%, Midwest, 49%, and West, 34%, perceive “whatever” to be the most bothersome in casual conversation. In the Northeast, “like,” 34%, and “whatever,” 33% are considered almost equally as irritating.
- Americans under 30 years old, 36%, are less likely than older Americans, 46%, to consider “whatever” to be the most annoying.
- “Selfie” is considered the most overused word or phrase by 35% of residents nationally. 27% say “hashtag” is the most worn out word. “Twerk” receives 16% while “YOLO” garners 8%. Five percent cite “twittersphere” as excessively used while 1% reports “hipster” was used too often.
- While a plurality of Americans 30 and older, 38%, say “selfie” is the most overused word of 2014, 32% of younger residents think “hashtag” was used too much.
The entire Marist Poll team would like to wish you a very happy holiday season and a healthy and joyous New Year.
Click below to watch our holiday greeting, including a couple of twists on some holiday favorites.
With Chanukah underway and just one week until Christmas, many Americans who purchase holiday gifts won’t be cutting corners on their seasonal shopping. A majority of holiday shoppers say they plan to spend about the same amount of money as they did last year, and more than one in ten gift givers intends to spend more. Although down from last year, financial concerns are top of mind for nearly one-third of shoppers who report they will be cutting back this holiday season.
Looking to 2015, are Americans vowing to make a change? More than four in ten Americans expect to make a resolution, and weight loss tops the list of improvements for the New Year. However, more Americans have let their resolutions slide. Of those who made a promise going into 2014, only 59% kept their word, down from 72% the previous year. Men are slightly more likely than women to have kept their resolution.
- A majority of Americans who spend money on holiday shopping, 55%, plans to spend the same amount of money as they did last year. 32% say they will spend less money, and 13% will spend more. Fewer holiday shoppers expect to spend less than last year. In 2013, 52% reported they intended to maintain the same level of spending as in the past. Nearly four in ten, 38%, thought they would reduce their holiday expenditures, and 10% said they would spend more (Trend).
- While there has been little change in the spending habits of holiday shoppers who earn $50,000 or more, there has been a positive shift in the spending of those who earn less. Half of holiday shoppers who make less than $50,000, 50%, will spend about the same as last year, up from 43% in 2013. 36% of these shoppers expect to spend less, compared with 45% in 2013.
- More than six in ten holiday shoppers who are 45 or older, 62%, say they will spend about the same amount of money as they did last year. This compares with 53% in 2013 who reported they would spend about as much as the previous year. Fewer Americans in this age group who purchase presents, 29%, expect to spend less, down from 40% in 2013. There has been little change in the holiday spending habits of younger Americans.
- Six in ten holiday shoppers, 60%, little changed from 63% last year, expect to mostly use cash when buying their holiday gifts. 37% plan to use, for the most part, credit cards, and 3% are unsure.
- How do Americans who buy holiday gifts plan to make their purchases? 19% say they will do all or most of their shopping online. 44% will buy some of their seasonal purchases via the Internet while 38% don’t plan to use the Internet to purchase any of their holiday gifts. There has been little change on this question since last year (Trend).
- Turning to New Year’s resolutions, 44% of Americans, identical to last year, are very likely or somewhat likely to make a New Year’s resolution for 2015. Similar to last year, younger Americans are more likely than older Americans to resolve to change (Trend). 56% of those younger than 45, compared with 33% of those 45 and older, plan to make a change to their lifestyle. Similar proportions of men, 43%, and women, 44%, are, at least, somewhat likely to make a resolution.
- Weight loss is the top resolution this year cited by 13% of Americans who vow to make a change in 2015. Exercising more follows with 10%. Nine percent want to be a better person while 8% mention improving their health. With 7% each, stopping smoking, spending less and saving more money, and eating healthier rounds out the top-tier in the complete list of 2015 New Year’s resolutions. The top resolutions for 2014 were spending less and saving more, being a better person, and exercising more each with 12%. Weight loss came in fourth with 11% while health improvements, eating healthier, and ceasing smoking each received 8% of those who were likely to make a resolution for 2014.
- Among adults nationally who said they made a resolution for 2014, 59% kept their resolution for, at least, part of the year. 41% did not. This is a change from the previous year (Trend). Among those who made a resolution for 2013, 72% kept their word.
- Men, 64%, are more likely than women, 55%, to report they stuck to their 2014 resolution for at least part of the year.
Looking back at some of the sports stories that made headlines in 2014, domestic violence in the National Football League tops the list as the year’s biggest sports story. Regardless of demographic group, this story is the one that resonated most with sports fans nationally.
When it comes to the biggest sports accomplishment during the past twelve months, the San Francisco Giants third World Series victory in five years and the advance of the men’s national soccer team to the elimination round of the World Cup top the list. And, while Peyton Manning is considered to be the athlete with the largest impact on his sport in 2014, LeBron James gives him a run for his money. On many of these questions, there are differences based on race and age.
This Marist Poll is done in conjunction with The Marist College Center for Sports Communication.
“These results reinforce the prominence of football in America. It’s once again where America finds its biggest star and its most dire situation,” says Dr. Keith Strudler, Director of The Marist College Center for Sports Communication. “Americans are sending the NFL a clear message that they want the League to establish a sustainable domestic abuse policy.”
- Nearly half of sports fans, 49%, cite the domestic violence controversies in the NFL as the story with the biggest impact on sports this year. The banning of Donald Sterling, the, now, former owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, from the NBA for his racist remarks places a distant second with 24%. Academic fraud in University athletic programs is mentioned by 11% while another 11% think the suspension of Alex Rodriguez for using performing enhancing drugs had the largest effect on sports in 2014.
- When it comes to the biggest sports accomplishment of the year, 29% of fans think the San Francisco Giants third World Series win in five years takes the top spot while 27% believe the advance of the U.S. Men’s national soccer team to the elimination round of the World Cup deserves the top honor. One in five sports fans, 20%, mentions the wins by both UCONN’s men and women in the NCAA basketball championship, and a similar, 19%, cite Serena Williams 18th Grand Slam victory.
- Age and race matter on this question. 38% of sports fans under 30 and 31% of those 60 and older choose the Giants’ win while 36% of those 30 to 44 think the men’s performance in the World Cup deserves the top honor. There is little consensus among those 45 to 59. Looking at race, 42% of Latino sports fans select the Giants’ World Series win while 37% of African Americans choose Serena Williams’ 18th Grand Slam title. White sports fans are torn between the performance by the men’s U.S. soccer team, 30%, and this year’s World Series victors, 29%.
- NFL quarterback Peyton Manning, 33%, edges out LeBron James, 29%, as the player who had the biggest impact on their sport this year. This is the third year that Manning has been selected as the most influential player by sports fans. A majority of sports fans, 55%, selected Manning in 2013. MLB’s Derek Jeter was chosen by 24% of sports fans this year. One in ten fans pick professional soccer player Lionel Messi.
- Age and race make a difference. 42% of sports fans 60 and older and 38% of those 30 to 44 believe Manning had the largest influence on his sport, football. 32% of sports fans under 30 say James is tops as the player with the greatest impact on his sport, basketball. There is little consensus among sports fans 45 to 59 years of age. Nearly half of African American sports fans, 48%, and a plurality of Latinos, 35%, selects James while 37% of white sports fans choose Manning.
- Six in ten Americans, 60%, up from 55% last year, are sports fans.
Keith Strudler, Ph.D., is the director for the Marist College Center for Sports Communication. Dr. Strudler founded Marist’s popular concentration in sports communication in 2002, now one of the nation’s largest in the discipline. He studies and teaches in the areas of sports media, sports and society, and sports reporting and information. Dr. Strudler also writes weekly sports commentary for WAMC, an NPR radio station in Albany, NY.
Many registered voters nationally think the GOP will have more influence in directing the nation in 2015 than President Barack Obama. However, only 35% think this will bring about change for the better.
Congressional Republicans take control of the legislature amid continued dissatisfaction with elected officials in Washington and pessimism about the overall direction of the country. In fact, the job approval rating of the Democrats in Congress is at its lowest point, 27%, and the approval rating of congressional Republicans stands at 28%. President Obama doesn’t fare much better. His approval rating is at 43% among registered voters, and his favorable rating is upside down. On the specifics of Mr. Obama’s job performance, fewer voters think well of how he is handling foreign policy than previously, and he receives a lukewarm rating on his approach to the economy.
More than six in ten voters say the new Republican-controlled Congress should amend, if not repeal, the 2010 health care law. About one-third think the GOP should focus on other items on the national agenda.
Americans are not overly optimistic about the future of their family’s finances.
“The balance in power has changed in Washington,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “But, voters need to see results to reverse their sense of dysfunction in government.”
- Regardless of party, more than six in ten voters, 61%, think the Republicans in Congress will have more influence over the direction of the nation in 2015. 29% believe President Obama will be the driving force, and 2% report neither will be in command.
- When it comes to who voters want to have more influence, 48% prefer the GOP to take the lead while 42% want Obama in charge. Looking at party, while 93% of Republicans want the GOP to have the most impact, 82% of Democrats look to President Obama to take the lead. 47% of independents turn to the GOP for leadership, and 40% put their stock in President Obama.
- While 35% of voters think the Republican-controlled Congress will effect change for the better, a plurality, 40%, doesn’t expect to see any impact at all. One in five, 20%, reports GOP control will be change for the worse.
- Seven in ten voters, 70%, think it is better for government officials to compromise to find solutions than stand on principle. Democrats, 82%, are more likely than Republicans, 59%, to choose to compromise. More than one-third of Republicans, 36%, value principle over compromise compared with 15% of Democrats who have this view.
- Close to two-thirds of Americans, 64%, are pessimistic about the direction of the country. 31% say the nation is on track, and 6% are unsure. Earlier this fall, 61% of residents said the country was going in the wrong direction, and 35% reported it was moving in the right one (Trend).
- The job approval rating of congressional Democrats is at its lowest point, 27%, since McClatchy-Marist began reporting this question. The previous low for Democrats was 28% and occurred in November of 2011 (Trend). In October, 33% of voters approved of how the Democrats were doing their job.
- The job approval rating of the Republicans in Congress, 28%, also falls short in voters’ eyes. In October, 24% of registered voters approved of how the congressional GOP was doing its job (Trend).
- 43% of registered voters nationally approve of the job President Obama is doing in office while 52% disapprove. Obama’s approval rating stood at 46% in October (Trend). Mr. Obama’s favorable rating is also upside down. 44% have a favorable impression of him while a majority, 54%, does not. Voters divided on the president’s image, 48% to 49%, respectively, earlier this fall (Trend).
- 38% of the national electorate, down from 46% in October, approve of how the president is handling foreign policy. 52% disapprove, and 10% are unsure (Trend).
- On his handling of the economy, 41% of voters approve of how the president is tackling the issue. This is unchanged from 41% in McClatchy-Marist’s previous survey. 55% currently disapprove of how President Obama is dealing with the economy (Trend).
- More than six in ten registered voters nationally, 61%, want the Republicans in Congress to make changes to the 2010 health care law. This includes 23% who want the law repealed and 38% who favor modifications to the legislation. 34%, though, say the GOP should focus their efforts on other issues. While 53% of Democrats want the GOP to focus on other issues, and 48% of Republicans want to eliminate the law, 38% of Democrats and 35% of Republicans want changes to be made to the law. A plurality of independents, 43%, would like the health care law modified.
- 51% of Americans expect their personal family finances to stay about the same in the coming year. 32% think they will see an improvement, and 17% believe their family’s financial situation will get worse. In October, 54% reported their money matters would be status quo, 30% thought they would get better, and 17% believed they would get worse (Trend).
Do voters nationally expect the Republican-controlled Congress to have a positive impact on the country? Find out in the latest national McClatchy-Marist Poll.
To read the full McClatchy article, click here.
Two familiar Republican faces, former presidential nominee Mitt Romney and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, lead the crowded field of potential candidates for the GOP nomination in 2016. Looking at what Republicans and Republican leaning independents want in a nominee, close to two thirds prefer a candidate who stands on conservative principles rather than a nominee who can win. However, there has been a slight shift in opinion toward selecting a nominee with a viable chance of winning the White House.
On the Democratic side, there has been a major change in what the Democrats want in their presidential nominee. Close to six in ten Democrats and Democratic leaning independents prefer a candidate who will move the nation in a new direction and not someone who will continue the policies of President Barack Obama. One year ago, Democrats divided between charting a new course and continuing the current Democratic agenda.
What does this mean for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton? If she were to seek the Presidency, Clinton is the odds-on favorite to win her party’s nomination. In several hypothetical matchups, Clinton also leads her potential Republican opponents by double digits.
But, could a third party candidate be a spoiler? Looking at a generic ballot which includes an independent choice, neither a Democrat nor a Republican has the edge. Close to one in five says they would support an independent candidate.
“Open seats often are a political free-for-all, and this one could very well end up that way,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “But, right now, Clinton is in the driver’s seat both for her party’s nomination and the general election.”
- If he decided to run in the 2016 Republican primary, former GOP nominee Mitt Romney would be the choice of 19% of Republicans and Republican leaning independents to represent his party. Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush receives 14% of the vote. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee each has the support of 9% while retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson garners 8%. Five percent are for Kentucky Senator Rand Paul. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Texas Governor Rick Perry each garners 4% while Representative Paul Ryan from Wisconsin, former Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker each receives 3%. Ohio Governor John Kasich has the support of 2% while Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and former business executive Carly Fiorina each has the backing of 1%. More than one in ten, 13%, is undecided.
- Without Romney in the primary, Bush takes over the lead with 16% of Republicans and Republican leaning independents followed by Huckabee with 12% and Christie with 10%. Carson receives 8%, Ryan garners 7%, and Paul has 6%. Cruz and Perry each has the support of 5% followed by Rubio, Walker, Kasich, and Santorum with 3% each. One percent is for Jindal, and the same proportion, 1%, supports Fiorina. Nearly one in five, 18%, is undecided.
- By nearly two to one, Republicans and Republican leaning independents, 64%, report it is more important to have a nominee who will stand on conservative principles than it is to have a nominee for president who can win. Last December, 67% thought the priority was to have a nominee who stood on conservative principles (Trend).
- Hillary Clinton is the overwhelming favorite in the Democratic primary. 62% of Democrats and Democratic leaning independents support the former Secretary of State. Vice President Joe Biden is a distant second with 11% while Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts has 9%. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont receives 4%. Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley has 1% as does former Senator Jim Webb of Virginia. 11% are undecided.
- Nearly six in ten Democrats and Democratic leaning independents, 58%, think it’s more important to have a nominee who will move the nation in a new direction while 38% want someone who will continue President Barack Obama’s policies. This is a major shift since last December when Democrats divided. 46% said they wanted a candidate who would go in a new direction, and 49% reported they wanted a continuation of Obama’s policies (Trend).
Clinton Bests GOP Rivals by Double Digits
- Clinton, 53%, has a 12 point lead against Romney, 41%, among registered voters nationally. Six percent are undecided. Clinton, 53%, outpaced Romney, 44%, by 9 points in February (Trend).
- Twelve points also separate Clinton, 53%, from Christie, 41%. Six percent are undecided. Clinton, 51%, outdistanced Christie, 42%, by 9 points in October (Trend).
- Clinton, 53%, is up by 13 points over Bush, 40%. Seven percent are undecided. In October, Clinton, 53%, was ahead of Bush, 42%, by 11 points (Trend).
- Clinton has the support of 54% of voters to 40% for Paul. Six percent are undecided. Clinton, 52%, had a 9 point lead over Paul, 43%, earlier in the fall (Trend).
- Looking at a generic ballot which includes a choice for an independent candidate, neither the Democratic candidate, 37%, nor the Republican candidate, 35%, has the advantage among registered voters. 17% of voters would support an independent candidate. 12% are undecided.