It wasn’t even two days ago that the nation elected Barack Obama to a second term, but 2016 polling is underway, and Hillary Clinton is the top choice of Iowa Democrats.
The PPP poll found that there are two strong contenders for 2016 Democratic nomination, and they are both currently serving in the Obama administration.
Hillary Clinton was the overwhelming favorite of Democrats in Iowa. She leads Vice President Joe Biden by 41 points. In terms of popularity, both Clinton and Biden have identical 85% favorable ratings in the state, but Biden’s unfavorable rating is four points higher (15%) than Clinton’s (11%). No other candidate broke double digits in the poll, but Andrew Cuomo did get 6% and Elizabeth Warren 3%.
While this poll means absolutely nothing in terms of what may happen in 2016, it is a measure of the strong position that Sec. of State Clinton would begin her second campaign for the presidency in if she decided to run. If Mrs. Clinton doesn’t run, based on name recognition alone, Joe Biden would be the favorite. At this early stage the polls are nothing more than name recognition contests, but when they include the most popular politician in the country (sorry, Obama/Biden) they deserve at least a moment of our attention.
By serving in the Obama administration, Hillary Clinton has bridged the gap between Clinton and Obama supporters that existed in 2008. If she runs, she will be welcomed with open arms by many of the same people who her supported her Democratic opponent last time. Former President Bill Clinton was a pivotal figure on the campaign trail for President Obama, and it can be argued that Mr. Clinton was more popular than anyone else outside of President and First Lady Obama on the campaign trail. President Clinton was definitely more popular than anyone on the Republican side, including the Romney/Ryan ticket itself.
If Hillary Clinton wants the 2016 Democratic nomination, she’ll have it. The merger of Clinton and Obama houses of the Democratic party was started in 2008, and it was finished with President Clinton’s tireless work on behalf of President Obama’s reelection in 2012.
The Clintons would begin 2016 in the position that they thought they were starting the 2008 campaign off in. Unlike 2008, much of the party would be unified around them. Hillary Clinton would be the dominant favorite.
David Axelrod and David Plouffe were asked today what will happen to the Obama ground game now that the president has won reelection? Will it be dismantled, or set up for another candidate in 2016? The Obama team wasn’t ready to speculate about four years from now so soon, but Democrats can’t help but dream about the potential of the same team that helped get the nation’s first African American president elected doing the same for the first woman president.
If Hillary Clinton remains this popular and Democrats are demanding that she run, she may find it impossible to say no.
Then again, maybe yes has been the answer all along.