More bad news for the Republican Party, it appears. A new poll released on Feb. 7 indicates — like several before it — that just-retired Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is the odds-on favorite to win the presidential election in 2016 should she decide to run. She’s not only the top pick among Democrats that are currently considered as likely to run, but she also knocks off all GOP candidate hopefuls that look promising.
According to Public Policy Polling (PPP) , Clinton is by far the favorite choice among Democrats, topping second-place Vice President Joe Biden by 41 percentage points. Other Democrats, like Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, only scored in the single digits.
Clinton also did well in head-to-head match-ups against possible Republican rivals in a hypothetical 2016 presidential election. She polled 8 points higher than Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (49 percent to 41 percent), six better than Wisconsin representative and 2008 vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan (50 percent to 44 percent) and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (49 percent to 43 percent), and 4 percent better than New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (46 percent to 42 percent).
The good news for Republicans is that they seem to be embracing a more multicultural outlook by choosing Rubio as the front-runner for the 2016 GOP nomination. PPP noted that the junior senator from Florida has led their poll for three consecutive months. In the current poll, he led Ryan 22 percent to 15 percent.
The bad news for Republicans is that the potential candidate who does best for their party in head-to-head match-ups, Christie, is their No. 4 guy (at 12 percent). This is undoubtedly due to Christie’s crossover appeal, where he is seen favorably by a better margin than any other potential Republican contender (44 percent of those surveyed view him favorably as opposed to 22 percent unfavorably). And that most likely has a lot to do with Christie putting aside partisan politics during the Hurricane Sandy tragedy to praise President Barack Obama for his leadership role during the superstorm’s aftermath.
Further bad news for Republicans is that the Democratic Party’s second choice, Biden, also beats all potential GOP rivals in head-to-head contests, except for one. Here again Christie proves most likely to do best, tying the vice president at 44 percent if a national election were held today. Biden also knocks off current front-runner Rubio by 5 percentage points.
But polls are known to fluctuate, sometimes even wildly within a short period of time. Christie is currently riding a wave of good will following his take-control approach to the Hurricane Sandy crisis. Rubio does well among Republicans because he is being featured as the future of the Republican Party, a strong draw for the growing Hispanic voting community.
And yet public opinion can reverse itself within days. Situations could also change, making one or more of the current hopefuls of both political parties unable or unwilling to run for president in 2016.
Besides, Clinton says she isn’t even thinking about running in 2016. Having worked in politics her entire life, she told CNN she’s certain she’ll have a few more “adventures,” but she was just uncertain as to what they might be.
Christie mirrored Clinton’s attitude toward 2016, telling late night show host David Letterman that, given all the vagaries of life and shifting political situations, one would have to be “crazy” to think about 2016 just yet. He told Letterman he was focusing on getting elected for a second term as New Jersey’s governor.
So it would appear that Democrats are in a position of strength with regard to the presidency as far as the future is concerned. And with a bitter 2012 loss behind them, Republicans have some work to do if they want to get a member of their party in the Oval Office in January 2017. One factor they might want to consider, given the poll numbers: The 2016 GOP candidate should be chosen with the idea of having a broader appeal and not just someone that toes the party line.