May 6th, 2014
07:39 AM ET
3 months ago

Jeb Bush edges up, Hillary Clinton slightly slides, in CNN 2016 poll

Washington (CNN) - She's still the overwhelming front runner in the race for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, but according to a new national poll Hillary Clinton's support has slightly deteriorated since the beginning of the year.

And a CNN/ORC International survey released Tuesday morning also indicates that while the hunt for the Republican nomination remains wide open at this very early point, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is now tied with Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky at the top of a crowded list of potential contenders.

bbbb poll

According to the poll, 64% of Democrats and independents who lean towards the party say they most likely would support the former secretary of state for the nomination if Clinton decides to make a second run for the White House. That's down six-percentage points from January, when seven in ten said they'd back Clinton. Nineteen percent say they are likely to support a Democratic presidential candidate who's more conservative than Clinton, up four points from January, with 13% saying they'd back a candidate more liberal than Clinton, up three points from the beginning of the year.

"Clinton is still in a commanding position, but the poll suggests that some rank and file Democrats are shopping for an alternative but have not found one yet in the list of potential candidates offered to them in other polls," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

Clinton has said she'll decide by the end of the year whether she'll launch another bid for the presidency. Until then, Clinton, who stepped down as America's top diplomat early last year, constantly remains in the media spotlight.

Hillary Clinton steps further into campaign politics

"She has been in the news non-stop and so people are seeing her more and more as a politician and less as secretary of state, so that appears to have cost her a bit," says CNN Chief National Correspondent John King.

"Enough to broaden the field of potential challengers? Highly doubtful, but if she drops more as the year goes on it might start more of a conversation in the party," King adds.

Free-for-all for GOP nomination

A familiar name is also at the top of the GOP list. Thirteen percent of Republicans and independents who lean towards the GOP say they are likely to support Bush, who stood at 9% support in CNN's last poll, which was conducted in early March. Bush is tied with Paul, who edged down three points from March.

One point back is Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the 2012 Republican vice presidential nominee, who also dropped three points from CNN's last survey. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a 2008 GOP presidential contender, is at 10%, with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie at 9% and longtime Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a 2012 White House candidate, at 8%.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas each stand at 7%, with Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida at 6%. Former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, a 2012 Republican presidential candidate who battled eventual nominee Mitt Romney deep into the primary calendar, is at 2%. Taking into account the poll's sampling error, everyone other than Santorum is within striking distance of the top spot.

Crossfire: Santorum says Paul not leader of GOP

The poll also asked Republicans for their second choice for the nomination.

"But the pattern of back-up picks is just as murky as the preference for the top spot, says Holland. "If Bush doesn't run – something his own mother would like to see- no single candidate benefits, with Christie, Ryan and Rubio all picking up two points of support."

What if Christie doesn't run due to the George Washington Bridge controversy?

The poll indicates Bush would be the biggest beneficiary, but he gains just three points of support with Christie on the sidelines. Paul is the biggest beneficiary if Cruz doesn't run (a net gain of three points for Paul with Cruz out of the race), and Paul returns the favor, with Cruz gaining three points if Paul is not in the race. Cruz, however, is not the obvious heir apparent to the Paul voters, as some of Paul's supporters would turn instead to Walker, Huckabee or Rubio, all of whom gain two points with Paul out of the nomination hunt.

"If Ryan stays on Capitol Hill to polish his portfolio on an important committee, Paul and Bush gain the most," Holland adds. "It all adds up to a tangled - and very hypothetical - picture of what may come in 2015 and 2016."

In its early stages, the race for the Republican nomination already has a different feel than previous nomination battles the past couple of decades.

"It's just a free for all in a party known for having a relatively orderly succession process. Most interesting to me is the top of the pack – Rand Paul and three guys who for different reasons might not run – Bush, Ryan and Huckabee. Add them up and that's 35% in this poll. Which makes a wide open race even more fun and unpredictable," King adds.

One more caveat: With the start of the 2016 primary and caucus calendar still more than a year and a half away, polls at this early stage in a presidential cycle are often influenced by name recognition.

Complete coverage: 2014 midterm elections

The CNN poll was conducted May 2-4 by ORC International, with 1,008 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's for questions regarding the Democratic and GOP presidential nominations is plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

 

soundoff (110 Responses)
  1. Lynda/Minnesota

    Bill from GA
    Lynda/Minnesota "... BENGHAZI"

    Lynda, drink your coffee and clear the cobwebs. There is much more wrong with Hillary than Benghazi.
    ----------

    Oh, Hi Bill. A while back I commented to you that I would leave off the Hillary talk in the understanding that you wouldn't be voting for her. No since arguing that which I can't control.

    At any rate, thanks for allowing me my "right" to choose whomever I choose to vote for. It's the
    "American" way ... yes?

    May 6, 2014 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  2. Bill from GA

    A popular theme regarding the Bush Family is that they are all the same.

    Prez Bush the First got us into a war to defend Kuwait against an invasion by Sadam Hussein. We had a treaty with Kuwait and our President honored it. At the time, I wasn't sure we needed to do so, but Prez Bush the First did it as well as a war could be done, and then left Iraq. And much of the cost was paid by the International Community.

    His boy W did it all wrong, from the lies that got us into the war, well, on and on. Totally rotten event for the USA.

    To link the two Bush presidents as identical is either lazy or ignorant.

    May 6, 2014 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  3. loveshemp

    Send in the clowns.

    May 6, 2014 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  4. Goby Dillis

    Seriously, These politicians do not have the type of knowledge base that is required to fix the problems we have. And with that, all the reasoning and logic in the world won't make them any wiser. If even one of them had any idea what so ever, the discussion would be about directed finance and fair distribution and the causal effect of hybridized manufacturing and its effect on production, growth, and influence though out world markets. The details aren't worth mentioning at this point. No one except me and few others seem to have a grasp on the solution at this point. Lets keep doing the same things and expect different results,seems to be the only thing that is happening or going to happen anytime soon. I can only wish you people would see our system and the players in it for what they actually are. Then maybe we could actually get the corrections we need.

    May 6, 2014 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  5. Bob

    1. Let either run so the Dem's are a shoe in
    2. Folks quit saying Hillary or any other Dem voted for Iraq because it was Bush who lied to Congress (if you believe the odds of EVERY intelligence department lied to him then I have a bridge.)

    May 6, 2014 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  6. CrashMan

    "It's just a free for all in a party known for having a relatively orderly succession process." The 2012 GOP primary was a "relatively orderly succession process"?? Wow!!

    May 6, 2014 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  7. Brian

    If Benghazi doesn't hold water anymore, the GOP has uncovered a very disturbing scandal involving Hillary. It turns out, she says she will NOT publish a copy of her birth certificate. If she is not an American born citizen, she cannot run for President!!!!!! .... And, if she does publish it, how do we know she didn't just fake it? The GOP is certain to take this election on these 2 important issues.

    May 6, 2014 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  8. Richard

    Prez Bush the First got us into a war to defend Kuwait against an invasion by Sadam Hussein. We had a treaty with Kuwait and our President honored it. At the time, I wasn't sure we needed to do so, but Prez Bush the First did it as well. YEA, he did it well if you consider he got so many young men and women killed because Kuwait was stealing oil from Saddams' oil wells! And all bushie had to do was to tell the Royal Family to pay up. Instead he chose to get our children killed because he sided with the people who pay his freight! Look it up and you will see the real reason we bombed Iraq. Another bunch of lies from the families that can not find the truth!

    May 6, 2014 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  9. ToughLove

    It will take a strong fiscal conservative to save our country from it's impending economic demise and eventual financial neutering. We need what we used to have that enabled us to prosper and made us attractive to those coming from other countries: a frontiersman's strength to do whatever it takes to succeed and a culture of limitless opportunity based on your own initiative. No one came here poor thinking they were entitled to the possessions someone else had. They came here believing that they were entitled to the opportunity to acquire such possessions if they strived. And if they did not reach it...they made inroads for their children and their children's children.
    I will not vote for someone without this same approach. But I don't think we'll suffer from another Fiscal Obama again. And if we do, it is certainly the death nell for our financial future.
    And before you crazy "progressive" "lefties" whatever you call yourselves calls me racist, I am indeed a person of color whose grandparents immigrated to this country.

    May 6, 2014 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  10. Lynda/Minnesota

    Dominican mama 4 Obama
    Lynda Minnesota
    it freaks me out how we focus in on the same excerpts/quotes.
    ------------–

    Clearly it's the sister I never had but certainly wished for. You've become that: my internet sister !
    One another note, I've not got a lot of time for the ticker today. Grandson calling out for a play date.
    Have a good one!

    May 6, 2014 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
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