Poll: If not Clinton, then what kind of Democrat?
February 5th, 2014
10:12 AM ET
11 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. carlin123

    Hilary Clinton doesn't stand a snowballs chance in hell of being President.

    February 5, 2014 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  2. Lynda/Minnesota

    Wake up People!
    Thanks Lynda!! Stay warm girl!!
    ------------

    And you as well. To quote my youngest granddaughter (age three at the time): Soon it will be Spring and everything will be green.

    I'm hanging in there ... !

    February 5, 2014 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  3. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    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?
    -------------------------------------------------
    Not at all Bill.
    I am saying that she put her ego aside after losing the nomination to Obama and worked extremely well with him for the good of our country.
    Not everyone can do that. She did.
    If she derived benefits from doing so all the better.

    February 5, 2014 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  4. AlbaMN

    I wish Clark would try again. He is a reasonable and intelligent person. If Hillary does not run, he might stand a chance this time.

    February 5, 2014 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  5. Zach De

    Will be sure to donate to every Democrat that Larry listed. Thanks man!

    February 5, 2014 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  6. Tony D

    wildee7
    Bernie Sanders/Elizabeth Warren
    -–

    A socialist and a communist? Will they be the new face of the Socialist-Communist-Democrat Party? You all might as well come out of your closet and tell the American people what you truly are and where you want to take the country. After Obama and Obamacare, the cat is pretty much out of the bag. Time to come clean with the American people.

    February 5, 2014 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  7. EJ

    Tampa Tim

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

    I doubt it would be a "non-issue" if it were someone in your family.

    February 5, 2014 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  8. Fair is Fair

    "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."
    --------
    Meh... Huckabee isn't running, Busn isn't running, doubtful Santorum will go through it again, Paul will always have his core supporters but in insufficient numbers, and Cruz just isn't doing it for me. No, the name I'm hoping for you haven't listed.

    February 5, 2014 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  9. Silence DoGood

    @Liz "Benghazi is a NON-ISSUE, tell that to the victims families. "
    ------–
    OK – I guess we need to speak slowly for some folks. I, as a liberal and possible Ms.Clinton supporter, feel that Ms.Clinton's responsibility for the sad event happening is a non-issue. Even her imagined lying was supposed to have happened after the event. It is not like Bush lying to send 1000's of people to their death. You must be very outraged about that!

    Benghazi – the new Birth Certificate.

    February 5, 2014 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  10. Tommy G

    So the Democrats have Hillary Clinton, a 1990's through back that was rejected by the Democrats in 2008 for an inexperienced dog catcher from Chicago. Her only memorable accomplishment in 4 years as Secretary of State was that she got 4 Americans killed in Benghazi, including one of her direct reports, Ambassador Stevens.

    And then they got senile Joe Biden, the non-stop Gaff-O-Matic that has run for the nomination numerous times and gotten trounced every time.

    Wow.... just wow. Totally impressive. If you're into total insanity and failure that is.

    February 5, 2014 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  11. ken

    It all depends who bends backwards more to the big corps. Most on here already have their mind made up so why do they matter when elections come around. The only thing that matters is who has the most campaign money (donated by big corps).

    February 5, 2014 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  12. novagl14

    Liz,
    Get a clue...It is simply false and just ignorant to say "left to die"...it has been stated over and over, even by republicans that there was no military unit anywhere near close enough to rescue them...It happens, it is a dangerous job and its very unfortunate but impossible to totally prevent...there were 13 Benghazi's under Bush leaving 60 Americans dead...where is your outrage over that? 60 vs 4 and of course because you want to try and keep Hillary out of the White House you play politics with it and make it about her...you are just sad.

    February 5, 2014 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  13. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Lynda Minnesota
    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.
    -------------------------------------------------
    I concur.
    I'm not quite sure where your buddy Fair was going suggesting that any list of Democrats running in 2016 would be hilarious as I can't come up with a list of Republicans that would make it pass the vetting process.

    February 5, 2014 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  14. Lovely Brown

    David Blasco ofcourse!!!

    February 5, 2014 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  15. novagl14

    Really Carlin? Then please explain every poll over the last 18 months showing she not only wins, but CRUSHES every single opponent...get a clue buddy.

    February 5, 2014 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  16. GREG

    For me if not Hillary then Martin O'Malley.

    February 5, 2014 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  17. Rudy NYC

    "Meh... Huckabee isn't running, Busn isn't running, doubtful Santorum will go through it again, Paul will always have his core supporters but in insufficient numbers, and Cruz just isn't doing it for me. No, the name I'm hoping for you haven't listed."
    -------------------------
    Oh, goody. Twenty questions. Let's see now. Uh. Mitt Romney, but count him out because he isn't running. So that leaves us with "Other". Yeah, that's it.

    February 5, 2014 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  18. truth hurts but reality bites

    EJ
    Tampa Tim
    Benghazzi is a non issue that keeps the brain dead glued to Fox. Issa had a witch hunt, and he lost.
    -–
    I doubt it would be a "non-issue" if it were someone in your family.
    --

    The people that died were serving this country and were thus part of the American family. Not only were their pleas for security ignored, they were left to die when attacked as people begged to go help them even if it meant their death as well. THAT is what the American family does when the call comes at 3am. They don't hang up the phone like Hillary did.

    Tampa Tim obviously doesn't consider himself part of that American family.

    February 5, 2014 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  19. GREG

    @Tommy G

    So the Democrats have Hillary Clinton, a 1990's through back that was rejected by the Democrats in 2008 for an inexperienced dog catcher from Chicago. Her only memorable accomplishment in 4 years as Secretary of State was that she got 4 Americans killed in Benghazi, including one of her direct reports, Ambassador Stevens.

    ----------------------------------------------–

    Please learn to spell.

    It's really pathetic that the runner up to the Democratic nomination in 2008 is leading all possible Republicans in every poll.

    Benghazi Benghazi Benghazi

    It must suck to be you.

    February 5, 2014 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  20. Gunderson

    Huh?,
    Allowing the Federal Government to fund Medicaid in the States is like putting the Mafia in charge of your Bank Account. Once they get their sticky fingers on your Tax Money, you, the state will pick up the Tab. You think Health Care is Expensive now, wait until it's free.

    February 5, 2014 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  21. Pander Bear

    If she chooses not to run, the next President will be a Democrat nonetheless. I mean have you seen the GOP's most likely candidates?

    February 5, 2014 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  22. someoneelse

    We cannot afford another Dem, but if we must, please find someone better than Hilary. Also, let's have the Rep put up a real candidate instead of the lot they have been offering the last few years.

    It is time for a leader and not someone bought and paid for. Someone for the people and the country.

    February 5, 2014 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  23. fifthsystes

    Hillary is not the best choice she is the worst choice.

    February 5, 2014 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  24. Lynda/Minnesota

    I concur.
    I'm not quite sure where your buddy Fair was going suggesting that any list of Democrats running in 2016 would be hilarious as I can't come up with a list of Republicans that would make it pass the vetting process.
    --------------

    Nor can I. She did come up with a list of those she feels aren't running. No doubt in good time she'll let us know who she thinks will be the GOP candidate and eventually win the GOP nomination.

    Until then .... ?

    February 5, 2014 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  25. Tampa Tim

    There were 13 embassy attacks and 50 deaths under Bush. The problem with Benghazzi, is that you wingnuts made it a political issue. Issa went on a witch hunt, and came up with nothing. We all grieve for these 4 Americans just like we grieve for the 4500 deaths of our soldiers in unnecessary wars, 45 thousand wounded, and the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians.

    February 5, 2014 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
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