May 6th, 2014
07:39 AM ET
9 years 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.

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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. Lena

    As far as candidates who aren't full of cr*p, the GOPs got nothing.

    Rand Paul is just a big a phony as the rest. He gets his dad's voters, but is really an establishment politician from the start, who swore he wasn't in it for the money, then went for the lobbyists practically on the first day he got to DC.

    Choose another Bush and risk ruining the economy, like his brother or fighting more wars for oil, like we did under Jeb's brother and his dad both.

    Under Bill Clinton, the budget was balanced and it was the last time most people were doing well. It shouldn't be hard to make the decision who should be the next President.

    May 6, 2014 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  2. Logictox

    Hillary has no chance to win. She has more skeletons in her closet than the average mobster. She would be a sitting duck to any real media outlet. Sorry CNN you don't qualify as a true media outlet, your now right there with the enquirer.

    May 6, 2014 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  3. william

    All non winners against Hillary. Unless Bengazi should unravel her run.

    May 6, 2014 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  4. jwb

    Jeb Bush? It is now clear the Republican "Machine" is already determining who it wants. If Jeb Bush is the candidate? GEt ready for four more years of Democrats in the Oval Office. Jeb Bush and others like him are the reason the Republicans are in disarray.

    Unbelievable. The Republican Party continues to just be stupid if they think Jeb Bush is the answer in 2016.

    May 6, 2014 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  5. amanda

    Bush is another of the same old, same old.

    Rand Paul is the only one who actually cares about returning to principals...but the people in this country like to be punished. You continue to vote to forfeit your freedoms. You deserve what you get.

    May 6, 2014 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  6. Tom Bukowski

    The Rands' are a joke. They're about as "libertarian" as Right wing Republicans.

    May 6, 2014 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  7. ny88

    "those who think Mr. Paul shouldn't be elected are simply not American" Really?? So if people don't believe exactly as you do they are "not American"???? I would never call someone "not American" or not patriotic just because their beliefs were different. That is not really what our founding fathers believed in when they wrote the Constitution.

    May 6, 2014 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  8. blake

    A RINO and a libertarian leading the GOP poll. Wake up America. We need a likeable and consistent fiscal and social conservative as the GOP nominee. Think Reaganese.

    May 6, 2014 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  9. Sniffit


    Definitely...yeah...definitely 5 minutes to Benghazi....

    May 6, 2014 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  10. Lynda/Minnesota

    @ Dominican mama: "Good morning!"

    And good morning back at you. Ben Ghazi? Yeah, I've heard of him.
    Whether or not he has a chance at 2016 is doubtful.
    IMHO he's being over-played way too soon.
    Reminds me of old what's his name? Oh, yeah: Mr. 9/11.
    Might just as well add Mr. 9-9-9 into this mix too.

    May 6, 2014 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  11. Maggie

    If Hillary Clinton runs for president the Democrats will lose!! She may have the interlectual capacity but any one man or woman at that age is mentally deteriorating rapidity and by,the time she is less than half way through the first term it is highly likely that her ability to make important decisions could be severely impaired. As Secretary of State when she was several years younger she found the position exhausting, so how would she cope with the presidency ? Surely there must be someone else to stand as a candidate , whatabout John Kerry?

    May 6, 2014 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  12. Malory Archer


    With the current Admin. having outspent " A L L " previous Admins. combined, how can any thinking adult say, Pres. Bush (Jr.) spent us into our current problems. Also 7 out of 8 of his years, were boom years. It`s time for the adults to take over again in Washington.


    Yeah, that's what happens when you keep two wars and Medicare Part D off the books. It's called "LYING". Meanwhile, President Obama has included those expenditures every year, and THAT is why it LOOKS like he's spending more. That's called "PAYING THE BILLS".

    May 6, 2014 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  13. Jim Jimson

    The GOP clown car is filling up early.

    May 6, 2014 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  14. Sniffit

    "a likeable and consistent fiscal and social conservative"

    Nothing says "likeable" like "all your wombs are belong to me".

    May 6, 2014 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  15. Tom

    Really? CNN is worried about a couple percentage points in polls two years ahead of the election? It doesn't matter if it's Jeb Bush or Hillary Clinton, this kind of polling data is absolutely meaningless so far in advance of the election. Can't CNN find SOMETHING newsworthy to cover?

    May 6, 2014 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  16. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Either a Bush or a young guy that doesn't believe in Civil Rights at least not for minorities... I'd vote for the burning Bush.😟

    May 6, 2014 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  17. Hogan's Goat

    Ta DA! And the GOP Clown Car comes careening around the ring once more. Look who's getting out! Rand Paul and Ted Cruz as Tweedledum and Tweedledummer, followed by Sarah Palin in a french maid costume. Herman "No Brain" Cain is right behind her, trying to stuff $999 in her garter belt, and how in the heck did they ever squeeze Chris Christie into that tiny backseat? Look at him struggling to get out.
    You guys are useless and easily-led around by clowns. Stop voting for people who lie to you and your lives will improve.

    May 6, 2014 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  18. Harold Read

    We must destroy democracy! Legislation needs to be in place that states that a family member has to have held public office for you to run. Why have experience and credentials when you have family name?

    No more Dynasties!

    May 6, 2014 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  19. Daniel

    I am a Republican, an actual Republican. I do not believe issues of the bedroom need to be regulated. I don't believe that we need to subsidize a middle class lifestyle for those that choose to remain lower class. We live in a blessed county, one that grew because of a strong middle class. That middle class is eroding because all of our manufacturing jobs have been sent overseas to give the lower class an opportunity to buy what was previously reserved for the upper class or the middle class. Until we penalize companies for sending manufacturing jobs overseas and encourage them to manufacture products here we will continue to decline as a country. It does not matter what your neighbors are doing in their bedroom, or the tax breaks they receive because of it. Vote fiscal conservatism, not social. Jon Huntsman was the perfect proven candidate, but was beaten up so badly in the last election cycle that we lost a chance at true recovery because too many people get upset that their neighbors Bill and Steve might receive the same tax breaks as they do.

    May 6, 2014 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  20. Hogan's Goat

    My best advice to the GOP is to all together scream "BENGHAZI!!" at the top of your lungs while Hillary beats your childish candidates like rugs. Just the fact that you are willing to waste America's time on that stuff proves to your base that you are still in an unreasonable fit of anger and you aren't fit to run anything until you calm down. Take a few years worth of deep breaths and find something besides politics to do.

    May 6, 2014 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  21. Lynda/Minnesota

    "The establishment – they want to keep their turf and they look at us as a threat," Jane Bilello, chairman of the Asheville Tea Party, told CNN on Monday."

    Well, no. Actually no one looks upon the TeaParty as a threat to Republican establishment. These folks are after all nothing BUT Republicans to begin with, else they would have their own political party to flaunt instead of being Republican hangers on trying to pull the wool over the most gullible of people.

    But, hey. If CNN still wants to continue treating TPers as a separate political entity so be it.

    May 6, 2014 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  22. bcrunner

    @blake: Reaganese? Reagan would not make it through a primary these days!! The Republican party is not what it used to be..

    May 6, 2014 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  23. Sailirish7

    The last thing we need is a "consistent fiscal and social conservative " The bush name is poison, so there is very little chance of that happening. Sen. Paul is just like his dad, great ideas on foreign policy, some good domestic ideas, and then he starts talking economics and ruins his other good ideas with stupidity. I don't really want Hillary in there either, but I don't know who else would run on the left. Biden doesn't count as he has no chance.

    May 6, 2014 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  24. Thom

    All the GOP entries are like mosquitos waiting to get squashed.......... no one wants a President that's anything like the worst Congress we've ever had these past few years......... and don't even bring up taking the ACA away from over 8M now...........political suicide.....even more so in 2016.

    May 6, 2014 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  25. Silence DoGood

    Bush is another of the same old, same old.

    Rand Paul is the only one who actually cares about returning to principals...but the people in this country like to be punished. You continue to vote to forfeit your freedoms. You deserve what you get.
    Rand Paul is "libertarian" in name only (LINO?). For example does he believe in the founding principle of freedom of religion for all and no establishment of a state religion or religious law? No – he believes radical Christianity should be the law of the land. In his own words from his web site: 'I am 100% pro-life. I believe life begins at conception and that abortion takes the life of an innocent human being." Not 50% or "I will consider all views" – 100% hard core.

    An extremist believer in a particular sect of one religion that wants that to be law cannot be a libertarian in my opinion.

    May 6, 2014 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
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