2016 Poll: If Clinton doesn't run, then who?
A second straight national poll this week indicates the obvious: Hillary Clinton, if she decides to run for the White House again, would be the overwhelming front-runner among Democrats for their party's 2016 presidential nomination.
But what if Clinton rules out another bid for president?
A Quinnipiac University survey released Thursday morning indicates that Vice President Joe Biden would lead the pack of possible Democratic White House hopefuls.
According to the poll, 65% of self-identified Democrats and independents who lean toward the party say if the primary for president were held today, they'd back Clinton, the former first lady, senator from New York state, 2008 presidential candidate, and most recently, secretary of state. Vice President Joe Biden comes in a distant second at 13%, with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo at 4%, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley and Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia each coming in around 1%, and 14% not sure.
Those results are in-line with a Fairleigh Dickinson University poll released Tuesday that had Clinton at 63% and Biden at 12% a hypothetical 2016 Democratic presidential nomination matchup.
Without Clinton in the race, the Quinnipiac poll puts Biden at 45%, Cuomo at 15%, Patrick at 6%, O'Malley at 3% and Warner at 2%.
"Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has a rock-solid hold on the hearts of Democratic voters at this point," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "If she decides not to run, Vice President Joseph Biden does almost as well as she does against the rest of the field. There is a long way to go until 2016, but none of the other younger potential candidates for the Democratic nomination currently has anything approaching widespread support from party voters."
It should be noted that polls conducted this early in a presidential cycle are heavily influenced by name recognition. And Clinton, and to a lesser degree Biden, don't lack when it comes to name recognition.
Even though the next race for the White House is a long way away, there's already intense speculation over whether Clinton will make a second bid for president. When asked in an interview with CNN just before she stepped down as secretary of state whether she's decided against another candidacy for president, Clinton responded that "I have absolutely no plans to run."
But she added that "I am lucky because I've been very healthy. I feel great. I've got enormous amounts of energy that have to be harnessed and focused, so I'm very fortunate. I'm looking forward to this next chapter in my life, whatever it is."
The Quinnipiac University poll was conducted April 25-29, with 1,471 registered voters, including 650 self-described Democrats and Democratic leaners, nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 2.6% points, with a sampling error of plus or minus 3.8% pts. for Democratic nomination questions.