2016 presidential poll: Clinton still ahead, GOP field wide open

WASHINGTON - A new national poll released Thursday morning indicates potential Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton continues to have an overwhelming lead over other possible 2016 Democratic candidates, while former frontrunner Gov. Chris Christie is still losing ground among his potential GOP rivals.

Separately, a New Hampshire survey shows a similar outcome, with Clinton ahead and no clear GOP frontrunner in the crucial primary state.

National poll

According to the Washington Post/ABC News poll, the former secretary of state comes in with 73% support among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, setting a record lead in an early primary matchup in 30 years of polling by the two news outlets.

At a distant second, Vice President Joe Biden has 12%, while Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who's said she's not running in 2016, has 8%.

On the GOP side, a range of potential candidates all come in at 20% or less, making the Republican primary less predictable.

Twenty percent of Republican and Republican-leaning independents back 2008 Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan, a Republican congressman from Wisconsin and House Budget Committee chairman.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush appears to be climbing in the polls, as he comes in slightly behind Ryan at 18%. Three other polls in the past two months put him in the 8%-12% range.

Embattled Gov. Chris Christie falls to 13%. While polls at the end of 2013 showed Christie as the frontrunner, multiple surveys conducted this month indicate he has lost support amid the allegations of abuse of power dogging his administration in New Jersey.

In the Post/ABC News poll, 12% back Sen. Ted Cruz, a conservative favorite from Texas, while 10% back Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and 11% support Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky.

Looking more closely at the ideological divide in the GOP, Cruz appears to have the most support among tea party backers, with 28%, followed by Ryan at 18%. Christie comes in last at 6% in the group, which represented about one-fifth of the Republicans polled, according to the survey.

The Post/ABC poll was conducted January 20-23, with 1,003 adults interviewed by telephone. The overall sampling error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

New Hampshire poll

Another poll released Wednesday night showed similar results in the important voting state of New Hampshire, which typically holds the first primary in presidential election years.

The WMUR Granite State Poll, conducted by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center, showed few voters have made up their mind about the 2016 primary, but Clinton remains the favorite among Democrats in the state while the GOP lacks a clear frontrunner.

If the election were held today, 74% of likely Democratic primary voters say they'd vote for Clinton, compared to 10% for Biden, 2% for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and 1% for Virginia Sen. Mark Warner.

The potential Republican primary looks much different in New Hampshire than in the national poll. According to the WMUR survey, which included a wider range of potential Republican candidates, 16% of likely GOP primary voters would support Paul if the election were held today. Thirteen percent would support home Sen. Kelly Ayotte and 11% would back former Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts, who's mulling a Senate bid in New Hampshire.

Continuing down the list, 9% would support Christie, while 6% would back Ryan, with just as many picking Rubio.

Bush, who came in second in the national poll with 18%, would get 3% in New Hampshire. Four percent would back billionaire Donald Trump, while 2% would vote for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and 2% would support Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

Twenty-one percent say they are undecided.

The University of New Hampshire surveyed 584 New Hampshire adults by telephone between January 21 and January 26. The overall sampling error is plus or minus 4.1 percentage points.

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