Buh-bye front-runner New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie as the non-Tea Party Republican favorite. Huh-lo former Florid Gov. Jeb Bush. Sorry, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal: you don’t even come close in contention for the Tea Party/Libertarian despite your recent efforts to show creds as a tough talking, hyper partisan figure (but he clearly impressed some). The fave is Kentucky Senator Rand Paul.
And the Dems? A whopping number dream of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — despite GOPer’s attempts to whip up Clinton fatigue and re-litigate the Monica Lewinsky scandal in an effort to neutralize powerhouse campaigner Bill Clinton and embed negatives on Hillary Clinton.
That’s the gist of a new CBS News/NY Times poll which shows how quickly the conventional wisdom is tossed out or dies due to new political realities — which can shift almost as fast as the top story on a news cycle:
From a list of five high profile Republican Party leaders, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul capture the most interest among self-identified Republicans; 41 percent of Republicans say they would like to see Bush run (27 percent say no to a Bush bid) while 39 percent say yes to a Paul candidacy (21 percent say no).
Republicans are less enthusiastic about New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie: more say they would not like him to run for president (41 percent) than say they would (31 percent). More Republicans would like to see Sens. Marco Rubio (32 percent yes, 14 percent no) and Ted Cruz (24 percent yes, 15 percent no) run for president than not, but most don’t know enough about these two politicians to say.
And the Republicans?
On the Democratic side, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is the most well-known of the political leaders measured in this poll, and most would like to see her enter the 2016 race. Eighty-two percent of Democrats would like to see Hillary Clinton run, while just 13 percent would not and 5 percent don’t know enough about her to say. Vice President Joe Biden is also well-known, though Democrats are divided as to whether or not they’d like to see him make a third run for the presidency. Forty-two percent would like to see him run, but 39 percent would not.
Most Democrats don’t know enough about Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren (56 percent), New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (59 percent), or Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (82 percent) to say whether they’d like them to run for president.
But what about that huge segment of the voting public: the independents?
Among independents, 50 percent would like to see Hillary Clinton jump in the race – the highest percentage among both the Democratic and Republican figures asked about in the poll. Thirty percent of independents would like Rand Paul to run for president (the highest among the Republican possibilities listed), but nearly as many – 29 percent– don’t want to see him run.]
The poll finds that Vice President Joe Biden is not ringing independent voters’ chimes.
WHAT IT MEANS: Democrats are clearly almost united at this point in either favoring or willing to go along with a Hillary Clinton candidacy. This means she’ll be an even bigger target for GOPers and even for some progressives who may not feel she’s liberal enough. Or Democratic liberals will continue efforts to pin her down to commit to more progressive positions on key issues.
In the GOP, polls like this mean Jeb Bush will get more attention from donors, from Republicans who hoped Chrisitie could save their party from running a Tea Party oriented 2016 candidate — and suffer an expected loss. But it also means Jeb Bush will likely come under fire from conservative talk show hosts if they feel he’s a threat to a more conservative candidate. It means Bush will likely have to stake out more…severely conservative…positions to win them over. And it means you may see the Republic establishment get in back of Bush if it looks like Rand Paul is rising in the polls.
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.