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Eye On Candidates
April 2, 2015

Washington Post Poll Sets the Scene

The Washington Post conducted a poll of American adults (not registered voters or likely voters, it’s worth noting) on the 2016 potential candidates. There aren’t many surprises, but there are a few interesting bits of information. Some excerpts:

Poll: Bush now tops GOP field; Clinton runs ahead of all Republicans

Former Florida governor Jeb Bush now leads the field of Republican candidates for the party’s 2016 presidential nomination, but former secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton enjoys a decided advantage over Bush and other potential GOP rivals in hypothetical general election matchups, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll…

Bush — by far the best known among those running for the GOP nomination — is viewed favorably by just 33 percent of the public, while 53 percent say they view him unfavorably. Only Clinton among all those included in the poll has a net positive rating, but by the slender margin of three percentage points (49-46 percent). Her favorability rating has dropped nine points in the past year and 18 points since she left the State Department in 2013…

…Bush tops the field with 20 percent of Republicans and GOP-leaning independents saying they would support him if their primary or caucus were held today. He is followed by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz at 13 percent and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker at 12 percent. Five other Republicans receive at least 6 percent support, with an additional six candidates at either 2 or 1 percent…

Meanwhile, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, once regarded as a top-tier prospect for the nomination, has a major image problem within his party as well as with the public at large. He is viewed favorably by 38 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents and unfavorably by 41 percent. Among all Americans, 51 percent have an unfavorable impression of Christie, topped only by Bush’s 53 percent…

While Clinton’s image is stronger than those of Republicans, perceptions of her honesty and empathy have eroded as she has moved toward a 2016 presidential candidacy...

Among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, Clinton continues to hold a commanding lead in the competition for her party’s presidential nomination. She has a 6-1 advantage over Vice President Biden and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, neither of whom has announced plans to run. Those who have expressed interest — former Virginia senator James Webb, former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley and Sen. Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.) — are in the low single digits.

Tested against four possible Republicans in a general election — Bush, Cruz, Walker and Rubio — Clinton holds double-digit leads in every case. Bush does marginally better than the others, but trails by 53 to 41 percent among registered voters, while Cruz runs weakest at 54 to 37percent…

A majority of Americans say that a candidate’s experience is most important to them, while 37 percent say someone who would chart a new direction is what they prefer. That could help both Clinton and Bush, the two best-known and experienced candidates.

The story doesn’t provide the percentages for candidates other than Bush, Clinton, Cruz, and Walker, but for the Republicans the full field stacks up as follows:

Jeb Bush, 20%

Ted Cruz, 13%

Scott Walker, 12%

Rand Paul, 9%

Mike Huckabee, %8

Ben Carson, 7%

Marco Rubio, 7%

Chris Christie, 6%

Rick Perry, 2%

Rick Santorum, 2%

Carly Fiorina, 1%

Lindsay Graham, 1%

Bobby Jindal, 1%

John Kasich, 1%

For Democrats, here are numbers:

Hillary Clinton, 66,%

Joe Biden, 11%

Elizabeth Warren, 11%

Bernie Sanders, 4%

Jim Webb, 2%

Martin O'Malley, 1%

It’s way too early to be putting too much stock in polls, but it is an interesting snapshot of the race as it stands now, and suggests some candidates have a lot of work ahead of them if they hope to be viable contenders in 2016.