Poll: If not Clinton, then what kind of Democrat?
February 5th, 2014
10:12 AM ET
4 years 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. Rudy NYC

    "Allowing the Federal Government to fund Medicaid in the States is like putting the Mafia in charge of your Bank Account."

    Allowing the Federal Government to be run conservatives is like giving a pyromaniac a dynamite factory.


    February 5, 2014 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  2. daveinla

    I think someone more to the center left might hang around and see if ultra-liberal Clinton will make a mistake. Perhaps Jerry Brown or a Kucininch will get in and have a socialist dogfight. I think Harold Ford Jr. may make a good candidate.

    February 5, 2014 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  3. Giuseppe

    For all that is good…other than being popular for some reason, how in the world is Hillary Clinton qualified to be the POTUS?! Have we not learned under the past 2 unqualified presidents? This is not some popularity contest you nitwits.

    February 5, 2014 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  4. Brian

    I can't imagine a "serious" candidate for POTUS next election. The names being thrown out from all sides...

    Is this really the best we can do with trillion dollar budgets and 315 million Americans?

    February 5, 2014 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  5. Jeff

    Whichever party picks the most centrist candidate will win. It is as simple as that. Regardless, both party's nominees will be picked by the party extremes, and not be anywhere near a centrist.

    February 5, 2014 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  6. Anthony

    RUN, HILLARY, RUN !!!!! Great team = Clinton / Cuomo Let's DO it!!!!!!

    February 5, 2014 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  7. Gabbo

    What about Bill Clinton's War on Women ??? Doesn't that matter to you liberals ?

    February 5, 2014 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  8. bluebyyou666

    Well, the usual kind, the kind like hillary, john kerry, obama...

    Well schooled, never lived on the streets, says the right thing but never says anything... for money, for the middle class, hate the poor, wishy washy religion... you know the usual do nothing democrat...

    No one dynamic... no one with any action... stay the course... boring....boring.... boring... the usual!

    February 5, 2014 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  9. Carole Clarke

    We are tired of being lied to by both sides. There were no WMD in Iraq and the President knew it. He childishly wanted revenge against Saddam Hussein for threatening his father, the previous Bush president. Thing is, such threats go with the office. Then Clinton with his denials of sex from an intern. He did the same thing as governor of Arkansas. Only fools elect someone with such a known bad history. His wife Hillary has a foul mouth and no scruples, threats against campaign workers and others are standard from her and she lies as a matter of course. She interned way out in Calif with a Communist party member and backed the Black Panthers in their trials.The current crop of gladhanders are also incompetent as their jobs, something we cannot afford. They will promise their backers anything to get elected and then they do deliver, at cost to us the taxpaers. Both Obamas have had to relinquish their right to practice law,nobody remembers Barack Obama from his college days – he just suddenly appears on the record as having attended. Accomplishments are gussied up. And for some odd reason the backers bought into it and he got elected twice. No one is allowed to question his shaky credentials. But it will al come out eventually.

    February 5, 2014 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  10. Raphael

    Brian Schweitzer is right of Clinton. Why doesn't this article mention that?

    I'm currently a registered republican, but I'd vote for a Schweitzer Heitkamp ticket in 2016.

    Schweitzer should launch his campaign in Vermont with Howard Dean. They should play the "The song of the Vermonters" and maybe have Lady Antebellum or Avicii do a remake to include the line that says,

    "Let Clinton and Ten Broek with bribes in their hands,
    Still seek to divide and parcel our lands;
    We've coats for our traitors, whoever they are;
    The warp is of feathers–the filling of tar."

    Mind you, this is about George Clinton but it will resonate and perhaps be the best song of 2015.

    Do it Brian, run please and right of Hillary!

    February 5, 2014 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  11. Bill Davis

    Charlie Rangle, and
    Jessie Jackson..

    February 5, 2014 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  12. TONE

    It dosen't matter to me which democrat runs i will vote dem, because any dem is better than any republican.

    February 5, 2014 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  13. Terry Gamel

    Article completely fails without mention of Elizabeth Warren, who would likely receive far more than 70% at this point...

    February 5, 2014 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  14. Anastasia Beaverhausen

    I hope Hillary decides to run. I will vote for her.

    February 5, 2014 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  15. Rabid Goon

    lol – anything to the right of hillary is NOT a democrat, and certainly not a liberal.

    February 5, 2014 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  16. MotoJB

    PLEASE pick Hillary...will be much easier to defeat the Dems in the next election.

    February 5, 2014 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  17. Thewatcher

    How about Al Franken? He is down to earth, extremely smart and like able. He can also draw every state freehand! 😀

    February 5, 2014 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  18. xray vision

    Barry may lack recognition, on second thought, maybe thats good?

    February 5, 2014 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  19. DustyOnes

    Please.....run Hillary.

    – GOP

    February 5, 2014 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  20. xray vision

    Careful what you wish for moto. She may very well be unstoppable.

    February 5, 2014 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  21. badassets69

    Hillary Clinton for president? Blarfffughhhhhhhhh...that was the sound of me throwing up all over myself in disgust.

    February 5, 2014 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  22. xray vision

    Just because the rwnj put a lot into benghazi, most people don't, selective outrage is playing politics, logical people don't buy it, want us to believe you care about the 4 lives lost in benghazi? Then show concern for the other 4600 that lost their lives, your pathetic. Listen to yourselves, only focused on the lives tied to a Democratic administration, shame on you.

    February 5, 2014 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  23. John

    Best to have a great second choice as Killary is likely to stroke out.

    February 5, 2014 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  24. George Dixon

    Hillary is 2 times More Inevitable than she was in 2008

    February 5, 2014 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  25. Stuart Smalley


    Because I'm smart enough, I'm good enough, and dog gone it, people like me.

    February 5, 2014 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
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