A just released CBS News poll shows Hillary Clinton still is head in the race for the 2016 Democratic Presidential nomination. Her lead has narrowed but she still is ahead with a sizeable margin, the poll finds:
Just days before the first Democratic candidate debate, Hillary Clinton is ahead of Bernie Sanders by 19 points in the Democratic race for the nomination nationally. Forty-six percent would vote for her. Her lead is similar to last month, but has narrowed since August.
Potential candidate Vice President Joe Biden comes in third, with 16 percent, while the other candidates trail far behind.
If Biden doesn’t jump into the race (conflicting reports on that but the conventional wisdom which has often been wrong is suggesting he is poised to get in), her lead increases:
If Biden decides not to enter the race, Clinton’s lead over Sanders widens. She would have 56 percent support, compared to 32 percent for Sanders.
Clinton is still viewed as the candidate with the best chance of winning a general election. Nearly six in 10 Democratic primary voters see her as the most electable, far ahead of the other candidates in the field.
Clinton gets strong support from women (51 percent) and older voters (48 percent). Clinton’s lead is narrower with men (39 percent), and she and Sanders run about even among Democratic primary voters under age 50.
Just under half of Democratic primary voters nationwide say they would enthusiastically support Clinton if she became the party’s nominee. Twenty-seven percent would support her with some reservations and another 11 percent would only back her because she is the nominee. Fourteen percent would not support her in a general election.
Democratic voters currently backing Clinton are especially likely to be enthusiastic about her. Those not supporting Clinton are less fervent- only about a quarter would enthusiastically support her if she became the party’s nominee.
Which means that if she gets the nomination, fewer Democrats would stay home and from their view teach their party a lesson (a lesson Democrats have often taught their own party, which is why the Supreme Court now is a far different court than it was before Republican administrations were elected, partially with the help of Democrats who stayed home).
The poll also does not find that Democrats look at any of these three perceived alernatives in a whoppingly negative manner:
Clinton, Sanders and Biden are viewed more positively than negatively among Democratic primary voters. While fewer see Sanders favorably, over a third has yet to form an opinion of him.
Among voters nationwide, opinions of Biden and Sanders are divided, but more than four in 10 voters – 44 percent – are undecided about Sanders or don’t know enough to have an opinion of him.
But Clinton has a problem to deal with in a general: among the broader electorate, she has high negatives.
But among that broader electorate, 53 percent have an unfavorable opinion of Clinton, an increase from August and the highest since the CBS News Poll began asking about her in 1992.
There’s more on the poll so go to the link and read the rest of it.
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.