In the 2016 GOP Presidential Primary, Republicans split their loyalties about evenly among Florida Senator Mario Rubio (18%), former Florida Governor Jeb Bush (16%), and Governor Chris Christie (14%), the last of whom trails among conservatives.
On the Democratic side, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton leads among favored potential candidates.
A Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind national poll of registered voters finds that 63 percent of self-identified Democrats and those who lean Democratic support Clinton, with her potential rivals trailing significantly. Twelve percent favor current Vice President Joe Biden, and 3 percent support New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.
“Although it’s very early in the contest, talk in the press about Secretary Clinton’s possible run in 2016 is clearly being met with enthusiasm by Democratic voters,” said Krista Jenkins, professor of political science and director of PublicMind. “Republican uncertainty mirrors the identity crisis the party is facing as it redefines its message in the aftermath of the 2012 presidential loss. Republican voters seem to be saying they remain on the lookout for their party’s Mr. or Mrs. Right.”
Jenkins described Clinton as the top vote-getter among virtually all of the politically relevant demographic categories considered in the poll. However, some interesting differences can be found among the possible Republican candidates. When considering the role that ideology appears to play in helping to distinguish support among the possible candidates, those who identify as politically conservative are more likely to favor Bush (16%), Rubio (20%), or someone else (26%) as compared to Christie (11%).
“These numbers suggest that Governor Christie does better among Republican moderates and liberals,” said Jenkins. “Whether this is a fleeting impression or one that will withstand the test of time remains to be seen, but his stewardship of a Democratic leaning northeastern state may make it more difficult for him to appeal to a large swath of more conservative Republican voters.”
As for Obama’s numbers, the poll notes little change from the last time Fairleigh Dickinson checked. In December 2012, 48 percent of registered voters approved of the job President Obama was doing with 42 percent disapproving. Today, approval comes in at 46 percent and disapproval remains unchanged at 42 percent. Stasis is the story again when the question turns to what voters think about the state of the nation, Jenkins said. Both then and now, slightly more than a third (37 and 36%, respectively) said the country is headed in the right direction and half (50 and 51%, respectively) express concern that it’s headed down the wrong track.
“Despite many newsworthy events in the interim, Americans seem not to be enchanted by the decisions of our leaders, including the President,” said Jenkins. “From debates over gun legislation, economic policy, and national security in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon tragedy, these numbers continue to reflect a nation that is uneasy with where it’s headed and divided over the helpfulness of Obama’s leadership.”
The Fairleigh Dickinson University poll of 863 registered voters was conducted nationally by telephone with both landline and cell phones from April 22 through 28, and has a margin of error of +/-3.4 percentage points.