Photo: Reuters (Photo : Reuters)
With the 2016 Presidential race looming in the not-too-distant future, voters are beginning to weigh their options for a new Commander-In-Chief.
According to a poll released on Wednesday, should former secretary of state, U.S. Senator and first lady Hillary Clinton decide to run, chances are good that we may see the first woman ever to take the White House.
Examining at the results of the McClatchy-Marist poll that took a look at the 2016 Presidential race, Clinton holds a substantial lead over other Democrats vying for the next presidential nomination.
On the Republican side, however, most voters are not sure who they'd like to see in the Oval Office. Of all the candidates seeking a bid, and there are many, there is currently no clear front-runner.
The poll shows that among Democrats nationally, including Democrat-leaning Independents, 63 percent of those polled said they'd like to see Clinton take the nomination.
Vice President Joe Biden is Clinton's closest potential opponent, but she outdistances him almost 5-1, as he took just 13 percent of the vote. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo trails behind Biden at 6 percent, and Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley holds 1 percent. Of all those polled, 18 percent were undecided on a Democratic candidate.
"Get ready for round two of Hillary Clinton as the inevitable," said Dr. Lee Miringoff, Director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. "The big question is whether she runs."
In the Republican contest, the field is crowded with 11 contenders, but the poll shows that the majority of Republican and Republican-leaning Independent respondents - 25 percent - say they are unsure about who should win the nomination.
Taking a look at the candidates, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has 15 percent of the vote, and following closely on his heels is Paul Ryan, the 2012 Republican vice presidential nominee who holds 13 percent of the vote.
Trailing Ryan by just 1 percent is Florida Sen. Marco Rubio with 12 percent. The final double digit contestant is former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who comes in with a 10 percent stake.
"In a crowded field, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is at the top of the list," Miringoff said. "None of the potential Republican candidates who appeal to the more activist base of the party have broken free of the pack."
According to a report from McClatchy, Christie is not a favorite among many conservative Republicans, who were reportedly angered by his fraternizing with President Obama last year praising the federal response to Superstorm Sandy. Adding fuel to that fire, the two appeared together again in May in New Jersey tossing a football around as Christie continued his praise.
The apparent connection with Obama may come back to haunt Christie as 64 percent of voters said that they think it's more important to have a candidate who stands firmly on Republican ground. In comparison, only 31 percent of respondents said the priority should be nominating a candidate who can beat their Democratic opponent.
But if Christie can show voters that he is indeed innately true to the Republican party values and will stand up for conservative principles, he is the candidate with the greatest chance of beating Clinton.
The poll shows that Christie trails Clinton by just 6 percent, as she holds a 47 percent to 41 percent lead over the New Jersey Governor. Clinton also tops Bush 48 percent to 40 percent as well as the rest of the Republican candidates by double digit leads.
Although Clinton remains silent on whether she'll give another shot at a White House run, if she does, she's almost sure to secure the nomination. The poll shows that she has strong support from just about every subgroup of Democrats polled, from white to nonwhite, men and women, both high and low income populations and all age ranges.
"She has two things going for her - a lot of folks who worked in her last campaign are still enamored of her," Wayne Lesperance, professor of political science at New England College, which conducts presidential polls told McClathy. "And a lot of people say 'We made history once, and this is another opportunity'."