8/14: Clinton Leads GOP Rivals, but Loses Ground

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is still favored against several of her potential Republican opponents among registered voters nationally, but she no longer is backed by the majority of the electorate.  In fact, Clinton’s once double-digital lead against GOP hopefuls former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul has eroded.  Clinton’s change of fortune is largely due to a shift among independent voters among whom she still leads but not by the margins she did before.

Complete August 14, 2014 USA McClatchy-Marist Poll

But, as for who the Republican nominee will be, that’s still anybody’s guess.  With nearly one in four Republican and Republican leaning independents undecided, an increase from just months ago, no clear front-runner has emerged from the pack.  Bush and Christie currently top the leader board with low double-digit support.  Ted Cruz is the only other Republican candidate to reach ten percent.

“There is no pre-season for team Clinton,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.  “She needs to perform at Super Bowl level from start to finish.”

Poll Points

  • Clinton leads Jeb Bush, 48% to 41%, among registered voters nationally (Trend).  She receives similar support against Chris Christie, 47% to 41% (Trend), and Rand Paul, 48% to 42% (Trend).  In each of these contests, the proportion of voters who back the Republican candidates is indistinguishable, and Clinton fails to break fifty percent.
  • Clinton’s support among independent voters against each of these three potential rivals has declined from a previous poll conducted in April.  She is down among independents by 10 points against Bush, nine points against Paul, and six points against Christie.
  • In each of these contests, a gender gap exists.  However, Clinton has lost support among, both, men and women since the previous poll.
  • The national electorate is extremely polarized in each of these presidential matchups.  Clinton is backed by most Democrats and the Republican base is unified against her, regardless of the GOP candidate.

Crowded GOP Field Fails to Yield Front-Runner

  • 23% of Republicans and Republican leaning independents are undecided about who they will support in the 2016 Republican primary.  Jeb Bush and Chris Christie each receives 13% while 10% support Texas Senator Ted Cruz.  Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan and Florida Senator Marco Rubio are close behind with 9%.  Texas Governor Rick Perry and Senator Rand Paul are backed by 7%.  Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal trail.
  • Although the sample size is small, there has been a notable shift in the preferences of Tea Party supporters.  15% of these voters now back Cruz, up from 6% in April.  In contrast, Rand Paul’s support among the Tea Party has fallen from 20% in the previous poll to 7% currently.
  • Men are more likely than women to have a candidate preference in the GOP primary.  30% of women are undecided compared with 14% of men.

Marist Poll Methodology

Nature of the Sample and Complete Tables