A new Quinnipiac University poll found that Hillary Clinton would trounce any of the top three Republican 2016 contenders, but Vice President Joe Biden would lose to Christie, struggle against Ryan, and defeat Rubio.
If the election were held today, former Sec. of State Clinton would have an easy time against either Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, or Paul Ryan. Clinton would defeat Sen. Marco Rubio 50%-34%. She would also win by double digits over Rep. Paul Ryan 50%-38. The Republican that would give her the most trouble is the one that the conservative base likes the least. Clinton would defeat Gov. Chris Christie 45%-37%.
Vice President Biden doesn’t fare nearly as well against the top three Republicans. Biden tops Rubio 45%-38%. The vice president would be in a close race with Ryan 45%-42%, and he would lose to Christie 43%-40%. The difference between Clinton and Biden is most clearly seen with Independent voters. Clinton ties Christie with Independents (36%-36%). Biden loses to Christie 44%-32%. Clinton leads Ryan by six points with Independents, 44%-38%. Ryan leads Biden with Independents, 45%-36%. Clinton leads Rubio, 44%-32% with Independents. Rubio leads Biden, 39%-36%.
Joe Biden is beloved by Democrats and Obama supporters, but Hillary Clinton looks like the candidate that can win a general election. These numbers are different from the ones that Hillary Clinton was polling at before her race in 2008. In 2007 and early 2008, Clinton maintained a small edge against the potential Republican nominees, but struggled with Independents. As we inch towards 2016, it looks like Vice President Biden may find himself in the same position that Hillary Clinton was in during 2008.
On the other hand, the conservative Republican base again finds itself in the current position of disliking the candidate who may have the best chance to win. Chris Christie has the name recognition, but he would have a lot of work to do if he wanted to win over parts of the Republican base who have not forgiven him for the “The Hug.”
The anti-Christie vibe is one of the many reasons some Republicans have latched on to their Jeb Bush 2016 security blanket. (I suspect that Jeb Bush would do worse against Clinton than Christie would. The damage inflicted on the family name by his brother still hasn’t been and likely won’t be forgotten by voters for a long, long time.)
By taking a position in the Obama administration outside of the domestic eye, Hillary Clinton was able to raise her national stature and give herself some distance from the political fracas and gridlock of the Obama years. If Democrats nominate Biden, they are going to have to sell more of the same to a tired electorate that will be certainly looking for someone who shares much of what they like about Obama, but is different. With the Republican brand gravely damaged and the Clinton brand riding high, it looks like voters already know what they want.
We’re all going to have to wait and see if Hillary Clinton gives it to them.
Jason is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association
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