Hillary Clinton: Polls Look Promising for 2016, But Will She Run?

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Source: Getty Images

Presidential possibilities are grinding about in the 2016 rumor mill. Some, such as Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.), have been dealing with scandal and falling popularity, while others, such as Secretary of State John Kerry, look like good candidates, but won’t be running. Then there’s names that get batted around like Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) or even Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). Sure, it’s not likely that they’ll be the face of the 2016 Republican party — but still, the possibility has been suggested. And for Democrats, current Vice President Joe Biden is also a possibility, as is Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), but arguably no one has been more talked about as Hillary Clinton.

Despite the options out there, Clinton, the former secretary of state, is still looking like a promising Democratic candidate, judging from public opinion in the polls. In January of this year, a Washington Post-ABC News poll put Clinton ahead of other Democrats as a possible candidate, with 73 percent of Democrats saying they would vote for her in the primary, with the closest competitor only at 12 percent (Joe Biden), and Warren getting 8 percent. Republican candidates were considerably tighter in possible votes, Paul Ryan winning out with 20 percent saying they’d vote for him in the primary, closely followed by Jeb Bush at 18 percent and Christie at 13 percent.

Fifty-eight percent of those polled gave a favorable impression to Clinton compared to 38 percent unfavorable, a statistic that Pew Research’s newest poll backs up. A March study asked Americans whether they would say that certain adjectives describe Clinton. A majority for in each category responded positively — 69 percent saying she was tough, 56 percent saying honest, 49 percent (compared to 40 percent) saying she had new ideas, and 57 percent saying that she was not hard to like (with only 36 percent saying she was hard to like).

This last is a reference to the 2008 Democratic primary, when it was said that some found Clinton less likable than Barack Obama. Her time at the State Department was largely positive, but the one largely negative item that cropped up most often was the way she dealt with the attack on the U.S. consulate at Benghazi, according to Pew Research. The poll also found that just more than half of Americans, 51 percent, want Clinton to run in 2016, with 43 percent saying they hope she does not run. A majority say that should she run, they will consider voting for her, including 8 percent of Republicans and 24 percent of independents.

In January 2008, a solid percentage saw Clinton’s gender as a detriment in the campaign — 35 percent saying they believed it would hurt her and 24 percent saying it would help. In March 2014, 33 percent say it will help, with only 20 percent of the opinion that her gender would hurt her in an election. When it came to her connection to her husband’s administration, most in both parties believed it would likely help her rather than hurt her or make no difference. One issue that has come up as a potential problem for Clinton should she choose to run is her age. She’s not the first person considered for the position to face that criticism. Ron Paul’s run for president came at the age of 73, leading some opponents to jokingly call him a geriatric candidate. Clinton, on the other hand, is 66.

Pew asked respondents how old they believed her to be, and found that as a whole “the public tends to underestimate Hillary Clinton’s age,” with about 83 percent putting her at 65 years or younger, 2 percent guessing 66, and 12 percent thinking she was 67 or older, indicating that her age may not be as much of an issue as some make it out to be. Health concerns have also be listed as a potential block to a presidential campaign for Hillary, after she suffered blood clot issues near her brain in 2013. However, both health and age are common concerns potential presidents have had to face in the past, so the jury’s still out. Ultimately, while her numbers look highly promising for the moment, there is plenty of time for that to change before 2016 rolls around.

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