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Hillary Clinton Continues as the Democratic Front-Runner in 2016

September 18, 2013 - 6:00pm

Two new polls show former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is a clear front-runner in the race for the Democratic presidential nominee in 2016.

Rasmussen Reports released a poll this week which finds 77 percent of likely Democratic primary voters prefer to see Clinton as their presidential nominee while only 11 percent want to see Vice President Joe Biden as their candidate in 2016. Other candidates get the support of 6 percent and another 6 percent are undecided.

When Republicans and independents are included in the mix, a slim majority of likely voters across the nation -- 52 percent -- want to see Clinton as the Democratic candidate and 10 percent prefer Biden.

While Biden does poorly when matched up against Clinton, the Rasmussen poll finds the vice president in solid shape when matched up against several possible Republican opponents. Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey beats Biden, taking 39 percent while the vice president garners 35 percent. But Biden beats out other Republicans, leading U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., 44 percent to 34 percent; up on U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, 43 percent to 32 percent; and ahead of U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., 44 percent to 36 percent.

The Rasmussen poll of 1,000 likely voters was taken from Sept. 16-17 and had a margin of error of +/- 3 percent.

According to Pubic Policy Polling (PPP), a firm with Democratic connections,Clinton holds a strong lead in New Hampshire, home of the first presidential primary, while Republicans in the Granite State are clearly divided on who they want to see run in 2016.

Clinton takes 57 percent of New Hampshire Democrats followed by Biden with 12 percent and U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., right on his heels with 11 percent. The rest of the field stands in low single digits. Newark Mayor Cory Booker, who is expected to win a U.S. Senate seat later this year, takes 4 percent followed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York with 2 percent. Two senators -- Kirstin Gillibrand of New York and Mark Warner of Virginia -- take 1 percent each. Gov. Martin OMalley of Maryland and former Gov. Brian Schweitzer of Montana garner less than 1 percent apiece.

When Clinton is taken out of the mix, Biden leads with 36 percent followed by Warren with 20 percent, Booker with 9 percent and Cuomo with 7 percent. All of the other candidates included in the poll take 1 percent each.

With both Clinton and Biden out of the equation, Warren leads with 33 percent followed by Cuomo with 14 percent and Booker with 12 percent. Gillibrand moves up to 5 percent followed by OMalley with 4 percent, Warner with 2 percent and Schweitzer with 1 percent.

Hillary Clinton remains an overwhelming favorite on the Democratic side even if shes slipped a little bit from this spring, said Dean Debnam, the president of PPP.

On the Republican side, Paul leads in New Hampshire with 20 percent followed by Christie with 19 percent. Former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida takes third in New Hampshire with 14 percent followed by favorite daughter U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., with 12 percent. Cruz takes 10 percent. Rubio stands tied in sixth place, knotted up with U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., with 7 percent. Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania trails with 2 percent.

Republicans have lots of candidates drawing double-digit support, although Marco Rubio has fallen precipitously from where he was in April, said Debnam.

New Hampshire is usually a battleground in presidential elections but PPP shows Clinton with a head start in the Granite State. She beats Christie by 4 percent, Ayotte by 8 percent, Ryan and Bush by 9 percent, Paul by 10 percent and Cruz by 12 percent in possible 2016 match-ups.

The PPP poll of 1,038 New Hampshire voters was taken from Sept. 13-16 and had a margin of error of +/- 3 perent. The survey of 455 usual New Hampshire Democratic primary voters was taken in the same period and had a margin of error of +/- 4.6 percent. The survey of 491 usual New Hampshire Republican primary voters was taken in the same period and had a margin of error of +/- 4.4 percent.

Reach Kevin Derby atkderby@sunshinestatenews.comor follow him on Twitter at@KevinDerbySSN.

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