A Washington Post/ABC News poll released on Thursday shows Hillary Clinton crushing the entire GOP field. The poll, drawn from a representative sample of 843 registered voters, conducted January 12-15, finds Clinton leading five prominent Republicans by double digits. The survey found Clinton with the largest lead over Mike Huckabee. She leads the former Arkansas Governor, turned pop music critic, by an immense 56-39 margin. She posts a similarly large lead (55-40) over 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney. Rand Paul, Chris Christie and Jeb Bush are just slightly more competitive than Romney and Huckabee. Rand Paul and Jeb Bush each trail Clinton 54-41, while Chris Christie is down 53-40.
Women voters give Clinton a 20-point margin or greater, against each of the Republican candidates. Male voters also prefer Clinton, but by a considerably smaller gap. Clinton also performs exceptionally well with minorities, young people, and low-income voters. Many GOP hopefuls will be spending their Saturday afternoon courting House Republican extremist Steve King at his Iowa Freedom Summit. While this may improve their visibility with socially conservative Iowans who dominate GOP caucus events, it is not likely to help them achieve the mainstream appeal needed to defeat a formidable candidate like Hillary Clinton in a general election.
If Clinton were to maintain her double-digit lead, she would be in position to win in the largest presidential landslide since Republican Ronald Reagan’s 1984 drubbing of Democratic nominee Walter Mondale. A double-digit popular vote advantage would project out to approximately 400 electoral votes, potentially putting a number of reliably red states into play. For example, Arizona, Georgia, and Missouri would become clear pickup opportunities in such a blowout.
In our current hyper-partisan political environment, such a landslide seems improbable. As the 2016 election draws nearer, Republicans, with help from talk radio and FOX News, will do everything they can to smear Clinton if she is the Democratic nominee. Her popularity would probably drop some in the midst of a polarized political campaign. However, she currently is in an unusually strong position to become the Democratic nominee, and to convincingly defeat whichever Republican candidate is chosen to run against her.