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. GetAClue

    Did you all forget about the stoke she had right after Benghazi? Maby you should be asking yourselves if she is able to fill the role to completion before another stroke? This issue makes her VP choice even more important. Do not vote for this women. She did absolutely nothing as Secratary of State and lots of lipstick on a pig campaigning as first lady.

    February 5, 2014 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  2. libs arethick

    If not Hillary – which democrat????? Are they kidding? LOL what a stupid question. They have NOBODY electable after the damage they've done to America.

    February 5, 2014 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  3. Down with Nazis

    Practice saying it over and over: "President Clinton." Oh, wait, we did that already, and it worked out well.

    February 5, 2014 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  4. Carol

    Spent a lot of worry about all the stories from the Democrats about the Tea Party, seems the worry should have been about the story tellers.

    February 5, 2014 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  5. Adam

    Elizabeth. Warren.

    The End.

    February 5, 2014 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  6. Dan

    A more conservative democrat? Are you kidding me; calling her a democrat at all is almost pushing it.

    February 5, 2014 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  7. JB

    @ Nami Usche Agonsi – What country takes care of anyones medical bills, water, energy, education? I lived in the UK where the government manages the health system and public education including higher learning, but UK citizens are taxed on avgerage 40% of their income and thats everyone not just 1%ers.

    In the end, we all are going to pay for it wether it's privatized or goverment controlled.

    February 5, 2014 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  8. Guest

    Hillary can't handle the 3AM call, like Benghazi, The Brits had the sense to pull their people out. Hillary was missing in action and 4 brave Americans died.

    February 5, 2014 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  9. JB

    No matter who wins either nomination Rep or Dem. It's still going to be the same old back-and-forth politics. Obama didn't change anything. He is just a different person in office to either support or oppose.

    February 5, 2014 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  10. Steve

    Back a pro-business (small business not Wall Street Clintonista) democrat with sensible social and economic standards. We need less polarizing candidates please.

    February 5, 2014 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  11. bobo

    Even Dems are sick of Obama's Liberal policies and want a more conservative person.... look out in 2014 & 2016!!!

    February 5, 2014 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  12. Harris Bockoven

    I say anyone who is NOT a Dem. or a Rep. Both have screwed the pooch. It is time for a third party and fresh thinking.

    February 5, 2014 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  13. JB

    911 was planned under President Clintion .... Saying he worked out well is an understatement.

    February 5, 2014 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  14. yoshimoto

    how about Kermit the Frog – he would be better than Hillary – seriously, she is not a leader and has never run anything – and they are talking about putting her in the most powerful position in the world? are you kidding me? the Dems just want to elect her to show how politically correct they are while the real reason is that the bank vault will open up and the taxpayers will get ripped off like you wont believe- where is the trillion that Obama spent?

    February 5, 2014 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  15. steven harnack

    President Elizabeth Warren

    February 5, 2014 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  16. TONE

    @truth hurts but reality bites-
    You also fail to mention that in testimony under oath, the State Dept. person in charge of the security stated this played no factor.

    How could it not be a factor in this attack limited funding limited security, it is incompetence on the lawless gop thugs with their recklessness who put the next election over the American people, they have accomplished nothing since 2010.

    February 5, 2014 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  17. hellsyeahs

    Clinton is center right just like Obama. The GOP are basically anarchists now so no wonder they think she's a liberal.

    February 5, 2014 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  18. SallyAnn

    Who knows, really knows, except Hilary if she is going to run or not?

    February 5, 2014 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  19. Fair is Fair


    the fact that Hillary and all usually-mentioned potential candidates...biden, cuomo, o'malley, warren, booker...are all from the northeast,
    True... but Hillary is the only carpetbagger candidate from the northeast. Bonus points for that, you know.

    February 5, 2014 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  20. GTS58

    Does not make any difference if the corrupt bloated Hag runs or not – as the Democratic Party has dug a mile deep hole for itself with Obama Care! Instead of doing the right thing for American and admitting Obama Care is a failure, they keep digging their hole deeper!

    February 5, 2014 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  21. rdg18

    How bout NO DEMS!

    February 5, 2014 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  22. Truck

    Maxine Waters.....this country is finished anyways..

    February 5, 2014 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  23. Mabel Schwartz

    Rudy NYC

    Independents are too frequently extremists of one flavor or another. They are usually indepedent because their positions were just far too extreme within their major party of choice.

    Rudy: So don't select an extremist!

    February 5, 2014 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  24. juspassinthru

    H. Clinton is a deceitful, foul-mouth, power-grubbing twit. There are many excellent Democrat Presidential prospects & Elizabeth (I'm an Indian) Warren is not one of them. We Democrats need to get away from the "status quo" candidates that the party leadership keeps shoving in our face. New candidates with new ideas that will lead instead of shoving from behind. I am extremely disappointed with our current party leadership. Hillary? Are you kidding? Not today, not tomorrow, not ever.

    February 5, 2014 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  25. markcolwell

    Elizabeth. Warren.

    February 5, 2014 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
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