Poll: If not Clinton, then what kind of Democrat?
February 5th, 2014
10:12 AM ET
3 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. larry

    Here are 14 Democrat Senators running for election in 2014 who knew you’d lose your health insurance because of Obama-care, but promised you could keep it anyway.
    Besides Reid, these are the LIARS who STOLE your healthcare:
    1) Gary Peters – Michigan
    2) Bruce Braley – Iowa
    3) Mark Pryor – Arkansas
    4) Mark Begich – Alaska
    5) Mary Landrieu – Louisiana
    6) D_l_C_K Durbin – Illinois
    7) Jeff Merkley – Oregon
    8) Kay Hagan – North Carolina
    9) Chris (Yahoo idiotic censors won't let me post the actual last name, but it is Cboons, without the b) – Delaware
    10) Brian S_C_H_A_T_Z – Hawaii
    11) Ed Markey – Massachusetts
    12) Jack Reed – Rhode Island
    13) Mark Warner – Virginia
    14) Al Franken – Minnesota

    February 5, 2014 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  2. Bill from GA

    MVP – "... Hilary clinton i believe is the only person who could run, who even remotely stands a chance of getting congress to act "

    Did you miss all the news stories, the last 3 or 5 years, where the repubs and the right-wing media HATE Hillary? They will all get reelected (in their conservative-nut-job districts) just for opposing Hillary. Granted, the same would be mostly true for any Dem, but to say Hillary has an advantage in that area (bringing the country together) seems a little misguided.

    February 5, 2014 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  3. conrad

    We need a new voice. I'm a yellow-dog democrat and I just am not inspired by her.

    February 5, 2014 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  4. Lisa P.

    Keith ..... in Oregon

    Whichever candidate the Democrats choose will win until American voters, including Democrats, get tired of the government controlling or trying to control every aspect of thier lives. Eventually that will happen.

    February 5, 2014 11:04 am at 11:04 am
    ---------------------------------

    If it's a choice between the government, the corporations, or the churches trying to control every aspect of my life I will choose the government every time, and vote as best I can to keep corporations and churches out of law and policy-making. At least with the government I have some say in the matter.

    February 5, 2014 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  5. Tampa Tim

    Benghazzi is a non issue that keeps the brain dead glued to Fox. Issa had a witch hunt, and he lost.

    February 5, 2014 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  6. Tampa Tim

    There are no progressive ideas that are failures, but there is a Republican Party that is a failure.

    February 5, 2014 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  7. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    The way things currently are going the Democrats would be wasting their time nominating any Democrat because they are about to get slaughtered!
    -------------------------------------------------
    I see Karl Rove is finally out of rehab....
    Howya feeling Karl?
    Get over your 2012 election night smackdown or are you still being medicated over that?

    February 5, 2014 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  8. Bob

    Who the Democrats would run has nothing to do with us the voters. Candidates are picked behind the closed doors of Wall Street. If it's in anyone's hands I'd ask CNN s masters who they would run.

    February 5, 2014 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  9. Wake up People!

    Thanks Lynda!! Stay warm girl!!

    February 5, 2014 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  10. Gunderson

    Eh,
    After Obummy get's thru who will want the job? Fools rush in where Angels fear to tread. Your Liberal friends have totally screwed the country up so bad it will take at least 100 years to repair it. Just today the House Budget Office reports Obama Care will cost about 2.5 Million jobs. How you like them apples. But you no believe, no? So stick head in sand. Maybe everybody wrong but you, no?

    February 5, 2014 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  11. William Carrell

    The safest answer is none of "dem". Biggest bunch of losers to ever get in office from the top on down.

    February 5, 2014 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  12. Lynda/Minnesota

    "She's earned my vote and she will have it if she runs."

    I suspect she'll be changing the red state map electorate, which in my opinion is much needed. And, yes. As it sits today, I will also vote for her. There really is no other alternative (candidate) in the (maybe) running category on the other side whom I could in good conscience ever vote for.

    February 5, 2014 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  13. Tampa Tim

    No one stole right wingnuts junk policies. They are allowed to keep them another year. But, red state governors did steal the opportunity for millions to go on Medicaid. That, you crazy wingnuts, is stealing health care.

    February 5, 2014 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  14. Don Sporns

    No candidate appeals to 100% of any party. Hillary doesn't need to move this way or that way get more votes. Hillary will crush any Pub candidate in 2016, and that is all you need to know.

    February 5, 2014 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  15. danielle brigandi

    we need an honest person in the white house not someone that twists the truth constantly.

    February 5, 2014 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  16. Bill from GA

    Dominican mama 4 Obama – "...Hillary showed her true mettle when she agreed to be our Sect'y of State under President Obama."

    Are you implying that accepting the job of Secretary of State was a great sacrifice? Leaving the role of Senator (1 of 100) to THE Secretary of State? She was all over the Press. Great for her ego.

    Can't say much for her achievements. Oh, maybe she was Setting the Stage for John Kerry, who seems to be negotiating deals all over the world, in his short stance as SoS. We read of his treaties, not his travels.

    February 5, 2014 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  17. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    ust saying

    69 or 74 years old, what difference does it all make??!!!! hahahahaha... thanks for taking the bait!
    -------------------------------------------------
    Good one just saying, even if it was unintentional.
    Lol!

    February 5, 2014 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  18. Liz

    Benghazi is a NON-ISSUE, tell that to the victims families. Four Americans left to die and be tortured. Lets hope your son or daughter never have to serve under Hillary Clinton. or any of leftist/democrat.

    February 5, 2014 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  19. Anonymous

    just saying – "69 or 74 years old, what difference does it all make??!!!! hahahahaha... thanks for taking the bait!"

    OK, That Was A Good One!!

    And I agree; Hill and Joe will be TOO old.

    February 5, 2014 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  20. Tampa Tim

    Gunny – It's the CBO, and they did not report what you think. Please read the report. Oh, and thanks for the baby talk.

    February 5, 2014 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  21. Wake up People!

    Thank you DM and Lynda!

    February 5, 2014 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  22. Sniffit

    "I'd LOVE to see the results of a poll that asked this simple question – "Should Hillary Clinton choose NOT to run for the Democratic party nomination for president in 2016, who would you support?" – and no multiple choice to choose from. The results would be absolutely hilarious!!!"

    Right, because Huckleberry, Randroid, the Ayatollah Santorum, Jeb Bush, Rubio and Ted Cruz are truly a pantheon of national election viability when put up against the people Dems could field. President Romney totally agrees.

    February 5, 2014 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  23. David

    I've been voting since 1983. As of 2007, I have quit voting for maistream politicians. I will never vote for a Republican or Democrat again. I truely believe both parties want all of our money to fix all of our problems, only making them continuosly worse.

    February 5, 2014 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  24. billybathgate

    Can someone tell me one actual damn thing which Hillary Clinton has actually accomplished, other than furthering her own interests and fooling people into believing she's some great stateswoman and political icon? Seriously, name on major policy initiative that she has been instrumental in successfully enacting, or anything else she's done as a First Lady, a Senator, or a Secretary of State that was of any positive consequence? She's the Kardashian of American politics – famous for being famous.

    February 5, 2014 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  25. bobby

    Can someone tell me one actual thing which Hillary Clinton has actually accomplished, other than furthering her own interests and fooling people into believing she's some great stateswoman and political icon? Seriously, name on major policy initiative that she has been instrumental in successfully enacting, or anything else she's done as a First Lady, a Senator, or a Secretary of State that was of any positive consequence? She's the Kardashian of American politics – famous for being famous.

    February 5, 2014 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
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