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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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. saveUSAnow

    The USA deserves every bit of misery it gets if we continue to elect the miscreant filth that is from this family.

    May 6, 2014 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  2. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Wake Up!
    Whatever at least he looks like the rest of them and to a great many that's all that matters.
    By all indications it certainly looks as if they're finally getting their country back in 2016.
    We made them wait 8 years though.
    And we're going to drive the spike in just a little deeper by having a Dem woman running it for another 8 years.


    May 6, 2014 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  3. Eric

    The only name on that list that I find promising is Rand Paul. Hillary voted for the Iraq war. The end. she is no better then Bush

    May 6, 2014 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  4. kobrakai7474

    blake: You are kidding yourself on a number of levels. First and foremost, Ronald Reagan was a LOT more politically flexible than Republican white-washers want to acknowledge. Sure, we could cherry-pick 6 or 8 of his most conservative initiatives and programs and make the case that he was the uber-conservative that Republicans claim to dream of. You could also point to 100 things he did that would have Republicans today foaming at the mouth and screaming RINO!! Heck, in the same vein, you could also cherry-pick 6 or 8 of Bill Clinton's most conservative initiatives and, without context, you could make Bill Clinton look like he sat to the right of Reagan.

    Secondly, you are kidding yourself even more if you think a social conservative is what will earn the Republican party the presidency. The winner in 2016, like the winners in 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012, will be the person who can earn the most electoral votes among the moderate east coast and midwestern swing states, states like Pennsylvania and New Jersey and Illinois and Michigan. In recent years, these states HAVE occasionally (and sometimes more often than that) gone Republican in state-wide races, but NOT for a social conservative demagogues. The people of Pennsylvania darn near chased Rick Santorum out of the Senate with pitchforks and torches. My old home state of New Jersey, as another example, will NOT vote for a social conservative in a million years.... and Republicans ain't winning the presidency without picking off a few more states like Pennsylvania and New Jersey. You are in denial if you believe otherwise.

    May 6, 2014 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  5. yogi

    The GOP presidential race of potential candidates for 2016 is about the same as the presidents race at the baseball game, the difference is that we have to watch the GOP clowns du jour for two more years.

    May 6, 2014 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  6. kobrakai7474

    Logictox: No politician, probably in the history of our species, has been vetted and investigated and re-investigated and, then, vetted again like Hillary Clinton has. Republicans and Republican operatives have been trying to dig up dirt and/or manufacture dirt out of whole cloth about her for more than 20 years now. There is NO chance that there is anything else waiting to be found in her closet. The same cannot be said for any potential Republican candidate.

    May 6, 2014 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  7. Robert

    It's always disconcerting to see a respectable news organization rely on potentially spurious headlines like "Jeb Bush edges up, Hillary Clinton slightly slides, in CNN 2016 poll." I note at the bottom of the article they mention the "plus or minus" rate of 4.5%. Thus, the earlier poll showing Hillary at 70% could have been as low as 65.5% and the current poll could have had had her as high as 68.5%–or in layman's terms, her support might actually be climbing since January. It would be much more accurate to simply report that her numbers haven't changed much (staying within the statistical error rate). Alas, that headline isn't nearly as enticing...

    May 6, 2014 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  8. tom

    And that word again from the low information set. RINO is an abbreviation that describes them. It means "Reading Is Not Obligatory".


    May 6, 2014 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  9. saveUSAnow

    Electing Hillary Clinton is even worse.

    May 6, 2014 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  10. rufus

    We'll get whomever we deserve and we don't deserve anyone better thanl these bozos, both D and R. We are too pre-occupied with "smart" phones, TV, narcissism, junk food, victimization of blacks and gays, and whatever the media and banksters want us to focus on so we don't pay attention to what is really happening.

    May 6, 2014 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  11. bluedogboy

    Jeb's wife could barely tolerate being first lady of Florida. She wants nothing to do with being FLOTUS.

    He is not running because of her. Let's move on.....

    May 6, 2014 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  12. Bill from GA

    Jeb is far and away the best Republican being talked about as Candidate. Hillary is, at best, mid-pack among the Dems, mainly because only maybe 3 Dems are even mentioned much.

    The Dems need to get off their butts and find and promote a really good, well-qualified candidate. SOON!

    Hillary needs to clear the air and say, emphatically, that she is not running.

    May 6, 2014 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  13. taxman

    Like the bumper sticker says....courtesy of Mike Peters

    Bush me once, shame on you, Bush me twice shame on me, Bush me three times, I'm moving to Canada

    May 6, 2014 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  14. Solomon Walker

    No Bush.
    If this is the choice come November 2016, I will vote for Rand Paul to rid this nation of the Bush dynasty that has no further place in American society – what a tragedy that our country of 350,000,000 citizens can only move these few into the ring for president of the United States.

    May 6, 2014 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  15. Gurgyl

    Jeb Bush??? Biggest Joke of the year. He is not qualified to be a cook in WH, how can he qualify for WH? Nonsense.

    May 6, 2014 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  16. kobrakai7474

    SaveUSAnow: The Bushes? I agree.

    May 6, 2014 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  17. Bill from GA

    Some commenting mention the Bush name as dragging Jeb down.

    The repub voters have no problem with the Bush name.
    The Independents are smart enough to know that the name is not an issue, the man (or woman) is who we vote for. Each candidate is considered based on what the candidate brings, not the candidate's family.

    I have NEVER voted for a Republican for a major office, and would not do so for Jeb. He may be the best qualified candidate, but i could not help to give Republicans control of our government. I don't mind his family name, but with what the repubs stand for these days, I could never help further their cause. Not all independents feel that way.

    But I will NOT vote for Hillary.

    May 6, 2014 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  18. Dominican mama 4 Obama


    "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."
    How can you be a threat to yourself?
    Gives the term "armed and dangerous" a whole new meaning doesn't it?

    May 6, 2014 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  19. TomGI

    According to Ralph Nader, Hillary would love it if the Republicans nominate Paul. They feel he can't get majority support and therefore it would be an easy and inexpensive win for her.

    May 6, 2014 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  20. Rudy NYC

    If Republicans/conservatives stopped for a reality check, then they would realize that a Rand Paul nomination would mean a Democratic win in the 2016 general election. The man simply has too many skeletons in his closet to be anything but a damaged candidate. Ranging from his objections to the Civil Rights Act, to his outright denials of repeated blatant plagiarism supposedly by his staff, to having an outright racist, the southern avenger, on his staff. I find it to be an utter disgrace that anyone could even support the man for any public office.

    As for Jeb Bush, his last name says it all. He'd be a puppet on a string, just like his brother.

    May 6, 2014 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  21. Bill from GA

    Lynda/Minnesota "... BENGHAZI"

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

    I don't hold Hil accountable for any problems with Benghazi. I know the 'scandal' is a repub ruse. Ambassador Stevens and his accomplices died on a CIA mission and they assumed the risk involved, on their own.

    That said, Hillary is just nowhere near the best that our country can offer. Riding your husband's coattails into power is not qualification to lead our Nation.

    Of course, if you like her, that surely is your right.

    May 6, 2014 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  22. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Rand Paul is "libertarian" in name only (LINO?)."

    Oh, absolutely. Else he too would be courting his 3rd party credentials ... of which he obviously has none. Thanks for the reminder: I forgot to add libertarian to my list of cutesy wannabee GOPerville names.

    May 6, 2014 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  23. Sniffit

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

    They have to or it breaks their paid-for narrative and they might get threats from all the dark money interests to boycott CNN and not spend all sorts of money on buying up advertising time/space.

    May 6, 2014 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  24. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Gives the term "armed and dangerous" a whole new meaning doesn't it?"

    Oh, you mean like first learning to exceed expectations in walking and chewing gum at the same time before they can get truly dangerous?

    May 6, 2014 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  25. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Lynda Minnesota
    it freaks me out how we focus in on the same excerpts/quotes.

    May 6, 2014 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
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