Hillary Clinton tops Democrats' choice for president in 2016

Without a front-runner, the GOP could face a fracas for the presidential nomination.

STATESMAN WASHINGTON BUREAUJuly 24, 2013 

The latest McClatchy-Marist poll, taken July 15-18, shows Hillary Clinton’s strong position. Not only do 63 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independent voters in the poll support the former secretary of state, U.S. senator and first lady, but finishing second is “unsure” at 18 percent. Vice President Joe Biden trails at 13 percent.

As for the Republicans, “unsure” tops the field for one-fourth of Republicans and GOP-leaning independents. Among actual potential candidates, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie leads with 15 percent, followed closely by the party’s 2012 vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

Nearly two-thirds of Republicans said in the poll that it was more important to have a party nominee for president who would stand up for conservative principles. About one-third said it was important to have a candidate who could win.

Christie, the poll suggests, is the candidate with the best chance of beating Clinton. He trails her 47 percent to 41 percent. Clinton tops Bush 48 percent to 40 percent and has double-digit leads over Rubio, Paul, Ryan and Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

Clinton has neither ruled in nor out a run for the White House.

“She has two things going for her — a lot of folks who worked in her last campaign are still enamored of her. And a lot of people say, ‘We made history once, and this is another opportunity,’ ” said Wayne Lesperance, a professor of political science at New England College in New Hampshire, which conducts presidential polls.

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