RALEIGH – In a very early poll for the 2016 Presidential Election, Raleigh-based Public Policy Polling shows former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul as favorites for the ticket.
On the Democratic ticket, Sec. Clinton is a clear favorite with 52 percent of Democrats favoring her in the hypothetical primary. The only other candidate who came close is Vice President Joe Biden with 12-percent support.
In the Republican field, it is more of a dead heat, with Senator Paul leading with 16 percent. Just behind Sen. Paul are former Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, all with 13-percent support.
Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who had previously lead polls of potential Republican candidates for the presidency, is now at ten percent, which PPP director Tom Jensen says is a result of Sen. Rubio taking the lead on immigration reform in the Senate.
“A lot of Republican voters think that he’s been too liberal on that issue and that they don’t want to see an immigration reform package that includes a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants,” Jensen says.
On the flip side, Jensen says that Sen. Paul’s high poll numbers and attention come from his filibuster regarding the United States’ drone policy, taking the liberal position on that issue. However, Jensen says it is important to consider who is on the other side of the drone debate.
“Even though the stance Paul was taking on drones maybe was a little more liberal, he was definitely standing in opposition to the president,” Jensen says. “And, I think, if there’s one thing that Republican voters appreciate, it’s a willingness to take on the president.”
Jensen says support for Sec. Clinton’s run for office comes from most Democratic voters wanting both then-Senator Clinton and then-Senator Obama as their presidential nominee but having to settle for just one.
“What you’re seeing now is voters saying, ‘Well, you were very loyal to President Obama, serving in his administration. After his eight years are up, we want you to be the next in line,’” Jensen says.
With the presidential election still far away and no one announcing their candidacy yet, party leaders have yet to weigh in or give their support. Jensen says Democratic leaders would likely support Sec. Clinton if she was to run, but on the Republican side, he says it’s not that simple.
“The Republican side, I think, is a total muddle,” Jensen says. “There’s lots of qualified candidates who are pretty well known and that’s going to take a while to sort itself out.”
When Democratic voters were asked to consider a Democratic nominee besides Sec. Clinton, Vice President Biden was in the lead with 34 percent, with Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren following with 13 percent.