WASHINGTON – Hillary Clinton has a comfortable lead among Democrats for the 2016 presidential nomination, while the Republican race remains a free-for-all, according to a new McClatchy-Marist poll.
Clinton was the top choice of 64 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents. She showed strong appeal among virtually every demographic and political group.
“She’s jogging around the track with no serious competition,” said Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion in New York, which conducted the Sept. 24-29 poll.
A former secretary of state, U.S. senator from New York and first lady, Clinton has been a front-runner before. In 2008 she was doing well at this early stage, but she lost the nomination to Barack Obama, then a Democratic senator from Illinois.
Vice President Joe Biden was a distant second in the latest poll at 15 percent, followed by Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who has said repeatedly she does not want to be a candidate, at 8 percent.
Three who may be interested in waging campaigns trailed far behind. Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent, polled 4 percent. Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley recorded 2 percent, and former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb was at 1 percent.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush led the Republican field, but there was no discernible trend for or against anyone. Bush got 15 percent backing, followed by Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and 2012 vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, both at 13 percent. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was at 12 percent.
A long list of potentially strong candidates trailed: Texas Gov. Rick Perry, 7 percent; Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, 6 percent; Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, tied at 4 percent; former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, 3 percent each.
Twenty-one percent were undecided.
The telephone survey polled 1,052 adults, including 884 registered voters. The poll has an overall margin of error of 3 percentage points.
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