Poll: Michelle Obama would be Hillary’s strongest Dem rival in 2016
© Getty Images

If Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaMichelle Obama criticizes lack of diversity in politics: one side is 'all white, all men' Obama interrupts Michelle's appearance with 25th anniversary tribute Michelle Obama: Young people feel what's happening now 'not what they were taught' MORE decided to run for president in 2016, she would pose the most significant threat, among likely contenders, to Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonChris Murphy’s profile rises with gun tragedies DNC, RNC step up cyber protections Gun proposal picks up GOP support MORE's chances of winning the Democratic nomination, according to a new Rasmussen poll.

A telephone survey of 1,000 likely voters conducted by the polling company found that in a hypothetical match-up between the current first lady and the former secretary of State, Clinton would best Obama 56 percent to 22 percent.

ADVERTISEMENT
That may seem like a significant margin, but according to the most recent RealClearPolitics polling average, Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenOvernight Finance: Lawmakers grill Equifax chief over hack | Wells Fargo CEO defends bank's progress | Trump jokes Puerto Rico threw budget 'out of whack' | Mortgage tax fight tests industry clout Michelle Obama is exactly who the Democrats need to win big in 2020 Wells Fargo chief defends bank's progress in tense Senate hearing MORE, a popular hypothetical challenger to Clinton, receives only 12.5 percent to Clinton's 64 percent.

Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersChris Murphy’s profile rises with gun tragedies Clip shows Larry David and Bernie Sanders reacting after discovering they're related For now, Trump dossier creates more questions than answers MORE (I-Vt.), the only other major Democratic candidate in the race for president, is even further behind, with 7.4 percent. Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, who is expected to announce his bid on May 30, fares the worst against Clinton, with 1.2 percent of support from likely voters.

The first lady is highly unlikely to mount a presidential campaign, however. In fact, of the people surveyed by Rasmussen, just 14 percent thought she should run.

Still, 40 percent of black voters welcomed the idea of her running, and she bests Clinton among those voters, with 44 percent support among African-Americans compared with 36 percent for Clinton.

Obama herself recently joked about a possible October surprise, hinting to "Late Show" host David Letterman that the thought had crossed her mind.