Poll: If not Clinton, then what kind of Democrat?
February 5th, 2014
10:12 AM ET
8 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.

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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. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    (Third attempt at responding to fellow poster...)
    Lynda MInnesota
    I was going more for "don't hold your breath waiting". She generally backs up whomever is polling as GOP flavor of the month.
    Well babe in all fairness to Fair what choice did she have in 2012?
    Their so-called candidates were dropping out like the proverbial flies....!

    February 5, 2014 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  2. JohnRalph

    Top liberal's choices for next socialist leader: Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Ho Chi Minh or Adolph himself.

    February 5, 2014 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  3. Skeptic

    Elizabeth Warren over Hillary any day.

    February 5, 2014 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  4. Pat

    Anyone but her ... I would have voted for Christie before her .. even now!

    February 5, 2014 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  5. John Paul

    What's the difference between Hillary and a cow patty? You can use the cow patty to fertilize a field but Hillary's toxic.

    February 5, 2014 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  6. Hillary Won't Win

    Hillary you're done. No way you're winning!

    February 5, 2014 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  7. Bob

    Hillary has a 70% lead, and you're worried that a group of people just over 1/5th in size compared to her support group is going to derail her bid?

    The real question you should have asked was to the 70%: "what kind of candidate would you ditch Hillary for?"

    February 5, 2014 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  8. bill birch

    Hillary was considered the front rnner for 2008 when a community organizer took it all away with the backing of the mrdia to do it. Careful Hillary, your adoring media may dump you again

    So much for loyalty

    February 5, 2014 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  9. John Paul


    Hillary is a power hungry old woman too old to be president sure hope we don't have to look at her for four years.

    Amen Roy! She's only in it because she suffers from huge delusions of granduer and she would love to be recorded in history as the first woman president of the USA. Hillary is all about Hillary. She's an exceedingly selfish individual. She's a liar of the worst sort. She has done next to nothing to deserve or to be recommended for president. She was elected to the Senate from NY based on nothing but her celebrity and then did almost nothing once she got there. She then did next to nothing as Secretary of State and was delerict in her duty, which resulted on that embassy being caught unawares by terrorists. And now she wants to be president. I cannot think of a greater calamity that could befall the American people but to have Hillary Clinton continue in public life, let alone as president. If George Washington were alive today, he would treat Hillary with the greatest distain and disrespect because he would see her as morally corrupt, totally incompetant and totally unworthy.

    February 5, 2014 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  10. Independent Voter Man

    The Democrats would be crazy to run Hillary. I have voted largely Democrat the last several elections but would not vote for a woman for President. You might think I am sexist, but I am not putting women down. There are fundamental differences between men and women, and I do not think a woman has the traits necessary to be President of the United States. I assume many Democrat men would agree at the polls (maybe even despite what they say publicly). I just think there is too much on the line. Democrat strategists are too smart, she will not be allowed to run.

    February 5, 2014 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  11. Too Scruffy

    If it's politically correct to award an estrogen producing carbon based life form the keys to the White House, can't we at least find one with some qualifications other than plumbing? Shrillary has too much baggage. Find someone else.

    February 5, 2014 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  12. jerrylax

    we need new blood. In fact we need to drain the swamp and no more presidents with thin resumes', shady affiliations, and sealed records.

    February 5, 2014 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  13. basedonfact

    Elizabeth Warren/ Russ Feingold. Then Russ in 2024 when Ms. Warren gets term limited out

    February 5, 2014 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  14. vasishta

    Mrs.HiLLARY CLINTON is the strong woman who can run the USA. In my Opinion, she is an intelligent and hard working person. We saw her ability when she was the secretary of the State. The Achievements of her term is very remarkable. If she becomes the next president of America she can bring a lot of developments in all the fields because the great man MR. BILL CLINTON is behind her as a the adviser.Let us see.

    February 6, 2014 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  15. Robert

    How about giving a liberal democrat a shot. We have been pushed so far right the Dem. party isn't remotely liberal in its views. And the right is so fer right they are around the corner from sane. I say if you want a women President how about Elizabeth Warren and for Vice Pres. Bernie Saunders or vice versa .Let the Liberals be in charge for a change, that last progressive presidency was Johnson's. The neo cons have screwed up the country in every way and still are even though they can't win an election without cheating. I thought Obama with the overwhelming support of the people he had was our chance at real change to the broken system. But the neocons and their obstructionist do nothing legislative agenda has killed any hope for change and beaten Obama into submission on many of the things he ran on in 08'. Its a damn shame that the same washington insiders that ran things when W. ruined the world are many of the same faceless, Wizard of Oz man behind the curtain running things now.
    The only way to fight back against the wealth that has bought the system is to legislate all the money be taking out of politics including regulating very closely the lobbying mega industry. And start outlawing interfering groups like ALEC and The Heritage foundation and throw the Koch brothers in jail for trying to undermine or out right over throw the Federal Government.

    February 6, 2014 04:52 am at 4:52 am |
  16. juspassinthru

    Elizabeth Warren?.... Are you nuts? She couldn't be elected "dog catcher". Debbie Schultz...another talking head that doesn't know her (well you know) from a hole in the ground. We need REAL leaders, not wanna-be leaders. New blood with new ideas that benefit EVERYONE not just the loud-mouths (spelled highest money contributors) in the room. Where's Harry Truman when you need him?

    February 6, 2014 07:55 am at 7:55 am |
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