Poll: If not Clinton, then what kind of Democrat?
February 5th, 2014
10:12 AM ET
6 months ago

Poll: If not Clinton, then what kind of Democrat?

Washington (CNN) - It may be the least hyped but most surprising number in a new CNN/ORC International poll on the next race for the White House.

According to the survey, 70% of Democrats and independents who lean toward the Democratic Party say they'd be likely to support Hillary Clinton as their party's nominee.

No surprise there. Just about every national poll conducted over the past year has indicated the exact same thing: If the former Secretary of State decides to launch a second bid for the White House, she'd instantly become the overwhelming front runner in the race for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.

But here's the interesting part: Of those who say they wouldn't back Clinton, 15% say they'd be more likely to support a more conservative Democrat, with 10% saying they'd be more likely to back a more liberal candidate. The national poll was conducted this past weekend.

The slight five point margin in favor of a more conservative Democrat may suggest that Clinton, if she launches a campaign, might want to pay more attention to a possible threat from the center. That would defy the conventional wisdom that Clinton's biggest threat would be from the left.

"The poll suggests that a majority of the anybody-but-Clinton Democrats are actually looking for a candidate who is more conservative than she is, not more liberal.  Some progressive leaders have been trying to entice someone into the race to run to the left of Clinton, but maybe rank and file Democrats would respond more favorably to a candidate who runs to the right of her, at least within the confines of standard Democratic Party ideology," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

What's also interesting is the reluctance of some Democratic strategists and analysts contacted by CNN to game the 2016 Democratic field, discuss hypotheticals situations, and react to the numbers from the CNN survey.

While the poll numbers suggest that slightly more Democratic voters who are not supportive Clinton would likely back a more conservative alternative rather than a more liberal option, some of the other frequently mentioned potential contenders include politicians who are slightly more to the left of Clinton, such as Vice President Joe Biden, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

CNN Crossfire co-host Stephanie Cutter, a veteran Democratic communications strategist and the deputy campaign manager for President Barack Obama's 2012 re-election bid, cautioned that there are a couple of things to consider.

"First, it is way too early to be deciding who is in the left, right and center of the party in 2016, and second, voters base their vote on the totality of who is in the race, and we just don't know that right now.  Fifteen percent may want a more conservative Democratic nominee today, but where they are two years from now based on who else is in the race is 100% undecided," Cutter said.

soundoff (316 Responses)
  1. Wake up People!

    Good lord can we please get through 2014 & 2015????
    I'm sick of hearing about 2016 every freaking day!

    February 5, 2014 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  2. Tampa Tim

    When democrats see that Hillary is running against the Koch picked candidate, Jeb Bush, she will get almost all democratic votes, a majority of independents, and a substantial percentage of republicans as well.

    February 5, 2014 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  3. bill

    billary needs to get on her broom as fly into the sunset. no more of the same old same old.

    February 5, 2014 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  4. richard haines

    I would NOT vote for Hillery Clinton even if she was the only one to vote for! she would not be a good president. we need a leader who is NOT a lier. someone who respects the consituntion and uphold gun rights and others

    February 5, 2014 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  5. Tampa Tim

    Bill – you are thinking of republican Christine O'Donnell.

    February 5, 2014 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  6. just saying

    hillary will be a 74 year old dinosaur from the 1990's in 2016. she has taken on the mantle of a progressive that thinks obamacare/hillarycare is what the american people want. 8 years with her in the white house will seal the fate of this country.

    February 5, 2014 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  7. Tampa Tim

    The single issue voters may not support her, but fortunately they are such a small group, it won't affect the outcome.

    February 5, 2014 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  8. Tampa Tim

    Just – Struggle with math much? Hillary was born in in 1947, so you can't get to 76 even using republican fuzzy math.

    February 5, 2014 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  9. Malory Archer

    bill

    billary needs to get on her broom as fly into the sunset. no more of the same old same old.

    richard haines

    I would NOT vote for Hillery Clinton even if she was the only one to vote for! she would not be a good president. we need a leader who is NOT a lier. someone who respects the consituntion and uphold gun rights and others

    just saying

    hillary will be a 74 year old dinosaur from the 1990's in 2016. she has taken on the mantle of a progressive that thinks obamacare/hillarycare is what the american people want. 8 years with her in the white house will seal the fate of this country.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Mmmmmmmmmm, I so love the smell of rightwing fear on a foggy Wednesday morning.

    February 5, 2014 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  10. Silence DoGood

    @Tampa Tim
    Just – Struggle with math much? Hillary was born in in 1947, so you can't get to 76 even using republican fuzzy math.
    --------–
    Conservative creationist schooling is pretty light on math too apparently.

    February 5, 2014 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  11. Rick McDaniel

    One that is NOT trying to establish a Democratic Party dictatorship in America. We don't care who that is, actually........as long as that criteria is met.

    It seems that all the entire Democratic Party wants today, is to RULE America as a dictatorship, dictating to the people, every aspect of their lives, and enslaving people with government dependency.

    We don't need another dictator........and that is what Clinton would be........another dictator, using every means to take over America, and silence all other viewpoints, and dictate to all, every aspect of their lives, and take away all opportunity to earn your own way, in America.

    February 5, 2014 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  12. Randy, San Francisco

    Democrats have the right messenger and message for 2016 in Hillary Clinton.

    February 5, 2014 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  13. smith

    Hil-dogg is all they have to offer. Its like digging in a junk pile. GOP isn`t any better.

    February 5, 2014 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  14. Silence DoGood

    @Rick "It seems that all the entire Democratic Party wants today, is to RULE America as a dictatorship, dictating to the people, every aspect of their lives, and enslaving people with government dependency."
    ------
    Just cause Rush says the word doesn't make it so. Obama has followed rule of law including the "executive order" which everyone is afraid of but has been used by presidents from G.Washington on down. ACA was a compromise using all 3 branches of government.

    And how is the conservative Theocracy vision of laws telling people things like who to marry and regulating body functions of women and living as slaves to Walmart anything resembling freedom?

    February 5, 2014 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  15. just asking

    Randy, San Francisco
    Democrats have the right messenger and message for 2016 in Hillary Clinton.
    -–

    what is the message? obamacare was just the beginning?

    February 5, 2014 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  16. rs

    As things stand, Ms. Clinton is a fine candidate. The real lynchpin however is whomever the GOP picks. If it is another feckless, value-less, soft GOPper (like Romney or Bush), no problem, Ms. Clinton wins. If it is a nutjob firebrand (Paul, Huckabee, etc.), then the Dems can probably run Ms. Clinton's housekeeper and win. It will simply be a matter of appearing saner and more grounded in reality than the GOP.

    Whichever the case the Democratic Party has many good candidates, while the GOP just has a lot of people to run- most ill-equipped to be let loose in public without handlers.

    February 5, 2014 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  17. rs

    Rick McDaniel

    One that is NOT trying to establish a Democratic Party dictatorship in America. We don't care who that is, actually........as long as that criteria is met.

    It seems that all the entire Democratic Party wants today, is to RULE America as a dictatorship, dictating to the people, every aspect of their lives, and enslaving people with government dependency.

    We don't need another dictator........and that is what Clinton would be........another dictator, using every means to take over America, and silence all other viewpoints, and dictate to all, every aspect of their lives, and take away all opportunity to earn your own way, in America.
    _____________________
    Pretty funny stuff coming from a guy who supports a party trying to dictate our sex lives, and whose last President and VP used the Constitution for TP.

    February 5, 2014 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  18. Tampa Tim

    Rick – Rest assured, no one will silence your viewpoints. Most people enjoy your humor.

    February 5, 2014 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  19. The Real Tom Paine

    -Rick McDaniel

    One that is NOT trying to establish a Democratic Party dictatorship in America. We don't care who that is, actually........as long as that criteria is met.

    It seems that all the entire Democratic Party wants today, is to RULE America as a dictatorship, dictating to the people, every aspect of their lives, and enslaving people with government dependency.

    We don't need another dictator........and that is what Clinton would be........another dictator, using every means to take over America, and silence all other viewpoints, and dictate to all, every aspect of their lives, and take away all opportunity to earn your own way, in America.
    ************
    So sayeth the leading proponant of right-wing purity tests. You and the rest of the wingnut chorus have no interest in any view other than your own, and certainly have no interest in broadening opportunities in the country by any means.

    February 5, 2014 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  20. Li

    There's a Democrat other than Hilary?

    February 5, 2014 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  21. jpmichigan

    2016 is years away, lets get through the 2014 elections first. 2014 vote the Democrats out that voted for the ACA. The ACA, according to the CBO, whom I believe over the White House, is going to cost Americans more , in way of jobs and money. More will become uninsured than what we had before ACA was thought of, .and those uninsured placed on Medicaid , there is no enough insured money from ACA to pay for them.

    February 5, 2014 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  22. rs

    just asking

    Randy, San Francisco
    Democrats have the right messenger and message for 2016 in Hillary Clinton.
    -–

    what is the message? obamacare was just the beginning?
    _____________________
    Better than the GOP's Hunger Games.

    February 5, 2014 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  23. Dan

    Elmer Fudd would be better than Obama....

    February 5, 2014 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  24. O'drama ya Mama

    just saying

    hillary will be a 74 year old dinosaur from the 1990's in 2016. she has taken on the mantle of a progressive that thinks obamacare/hillarycare is what the american people want. 8 years with her in the white house will seal the fate of this country.
    February 5, 2014 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
    _________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Did you forget how to subtract? How can we trust you with voting for a candidate when you cant even do elementary school math?

    February 5, 2014 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  25. wendel

    gotta love it Mallory.

    February 5, 2014 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
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