Since everyone's sick of the 2012 campaign we decided we would just skip ahead to 2016 on our New Hampshire poll last weekend.
Democrats in the state want Hillary Clinton as their nominee. 91% have a favorable opinion of her to only 6% with a negative one. Given a long list of potential 2016 candidates 55% say Clinton is their top choice to 9% for Joe Biden, 8% for Elizabeth Warren, 6% for Andrew Cuomo, 3% for Deval Patrick, 1% for Martin O'Malley, and less than 1% for Brian Schweitzer and Mark Warner.
Clinton has the ability to unify most groups within the Democratic electorate- she's at over 50% with men, women, whites, minorities, and voters describing themselves as 'very liberal,' 'somewhat liberal,' and 'moderate' alike. It seems like she would have a decent chance at clearing the field.
If Clinton doesn't run there's not much consensus among Democratic voters. If Biden ran he'd lead the way but with only 19% to 17% for Warren, 15% for Cuomo, 7% for Patrick, 3% for O'Malley and 1% each for Schweitzer and Warner with the largest mass of voters, 37%, undecided. And if Biden and Clinton both sat it out Cuomo would lead with 23% to 18% for Warren, 12% for Patrick, 2% each for Warner and O'Malley, and 1% for Schweitzer. 42% say they would be undecided in that instance.
The lack of support for Warner, Schweitzer, and O'Malley is largely a function of their name recognition. Only about 20% of voters are familiar with each of them. Clinton and Biden are known pretty universally, Warren and Patrick each have 68% name recognition from living next door, and Cuomo comes in at 56%.
The Republicans have a far better known field of potential candidates for 2016- if Mitt Romney doesn't win this fall. 8 out of 9 folks we tested have over 70% name recognition, compared to only 2 of the 8 Democrats we looked at. The only GOP potential who doesn't meet that threshold is Scott Walker.
Chris Christie is the top choice on the Republican side with 24% to 15% for Jeb Bush, 12% each for Mike Huckabee and Marco Rubio, 10% for Rand Paul, 7% each for Sarah Palin and Rick Santorum, and 3% for Walker.
74% of New Hampshire Republicans have a favorable opinion of Christie to only 11% with a negative one. Christie's greatest strength comes with moderates, non-Tea Party, and non-Evangelical Republicans- a formula that's not going to work for GOP candidates most places but might in New Hampshire. He also polls particularly well with independents, who are allowed to vote in the Granite State's primaries, men, and younger voters. You could argue to some extent that he's the candidate who appeals to all the groups the GOP needs to step it up with for the general election.
We did a similar poll in Iowa last month and it's interesting to see how the two compare. Christie and Bush are much stronger in New Hampshire than Iowa. Santorum and Huckabee are much stronger in Iowa than New Hampshire. Palin, Paul, Rubio, Ryan, and Walker do about the same in both states. Palin's poor performance is particularly noteworthy since she's the best known candidate both places. It just doesn't seem likely she'll ever be a serious Presidential candidate.
This poll was taken partially before and partially after the announcement of Paul Ryan as Mitt Romney's running mate so if we did it again he would probably poll a little bit higher. He already has good favorability numbers with GOP primary voters at 64/11.
Obviously a lot will happen between now and January 2016! Or December 2015 or November 2015 or however early it goes.
This analysis is also available on our website:
A press release and full crosstabs are attached-