By Lara Seligman - 04/08/13 09:00 AM EDT
A majority of voters believe Hillary Clinton is running for president in 2016, according to a new poll for The Hill, and a plurality believe she will be the Democratic Party’s nominee.
A full 51 percent of voters said the former first lady, New York senator and secretary of state is running for president in the 2016 election, while just 21 percent said she is not running. Meanwhile a plurality, 41 percent, believe Clinton will be the Democratic Party’s 2016 nominee. Just 7 percent of voters said the party would anoint Vice President Biden, while 35 percent said the nominee would be someone else.
The question of whether Clinton will run for president in 2016 is not a new one, but the announcement last week that she will pen a memoir about world affairs and her experience as secretary of state has amped up speculation over her political future to almost feverish levels.
Clinton’s closest advisers have insisted that she has not yet made a decision on a run for the White House, but that has not stopped the formation of a political action committee dedicated to promoting her candidacy called “Ready for Hillary.” James Carville, a close friend of the Clinton family, a key advisor to Bill Clinton’s successful 1992 presidential campaign and a well-known Democratic strategist, joined the effort last week.
As Clinton’s supporters encourage her into making another bid for the nation’s highest office, a spate of recent polls show Clinton trouncing her potential opponents, both Democrats and Republicans, in hypothetical match-ups. An April 3 poll from Public Policy Poll showed Clinton leading a pack of potential Democratic nominees by 64 percent to 18 percent for the closest rival, Biden. In a general election match-up, Clinton led Republicans New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan by small margins. Such strong numbers could provide additional incentive for Clinton to run.
Although voters chose then-Sen. Barack Obama over Clinton during the 2008 primary campaign, five years later many are disappointed by Obama’s presidency. According to The Hill poll, a solid 32 percent of voters said Clinton would have made a better president than Obama, while just 11 percent said she would have been a worse president and 45 percent said she would have been about the same.
Notably, 22 percent of Democrats said Clinton would have made a better president, while just 14 percent said she would have been worse. But just 14 percent of blacks said Clinton would have made a better president than Obama, while 25 percent said she would have been worse.
Although Clinton, if elected, would be the first female president, The Hill poll results showed no significant divide between male and female voters on these questions.
Notably, blacks tended to support a Biden candidacy more than any other race. A majority, 52 percent, of blacks said Biden is running for president, while only 28 percent of whites and 22 percent of other races said he is running. When asked which of the two would make a better president, whites picked Clinton by 59 to 9 percent. Blacks picked her by a much slimmer margin: 36 to 28 percent.
This discrepancy could be due to the vice president’s close relationship with Obama, or to residual resentment toward Clinton from the heated 2008 Democratic primary.
The findings were based on a nationwide survey of 1,000 likely voters conducted on April 4 by Pulse Opinion Research.