Here Comes Hilary?

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

Still undeclared presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is already besting her peers in the polls, but is her success sustainable?

Clinton came out as the top choice for Democratic voters in Iowa, taking 53 percent of their potential 2016 votes in a CNN/ORC International poll. She crushed the competition – trailing behind her was Vice President Joe Biden, who claimed 15 percent of the voters’ favor, while Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) took 7 percent. And these results come before Clinton’s upcoming visit to Iowa for Sen. Tom Harkin’s annual steak fry on Sunday, her first return since losing in the 2008 presidential caucuses.

Clinton is coming into this trip — and her possible candidacy — with no strong competition in Iowa, despite the fact that other potential candidates have spent more time in the state. Biden was the featured speaker and Harkin’s fry last year and will visit the state next week, while Sen. Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.), who nabbed 5 percent of the potential Democratic votes in the recent poll, will appear at several events.

Of course, in 2007, Clinton was much more popular in Iowa than she was by the time she finished in third in the 2008 caucuses. She was a favorite until President Barack Obama slowly pulled ahead. As there’s still two years until the race really gets hot, this favorable reception from the state isn’t set in stone. However, she has a campaign to reflect on and assess for flaws in order to make her 2016 run stronger. 

Clinton’s ultimately unsuccessful performance in Iowa in 2008 was attributed to a few different factors: the Clinton name didn’t carry as much weight there, she didn’t have the same fervent opposition to the Iraq war as many of the liberals in the state, and she staffed her campaign in the state with people from New York instead of hiring Iowans and didn’t spend enough one-on-one time with locals. Reflecting on her campaign in 2008, Democrats from Iowa noted that she was less approachable, and, while people liked her experience, they didn’t favor her personally.

While not announcing her candidacy, Clinton has been prepping the country with the Ready for Hillary super PAC, which has been organizing in Iowa since January, according to The Washington Post. The group bought the Iowa Democratic Party’s 2008 caucus voter data in order to approach voters who supported both Obama and Clinton in 2008 and ensure their support for Clinton 2016. And Clinton and her supporters have been keeping her name at the center of 2016 presidential run speculation.

While Clinton has no strong competitor in Iowa currently, the Republican pool is slightly more level. Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee won the most Republican’s favor, with 21 percent of the vote. He is followed by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), who held 12 percent. The crowded poll also included Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, each winning less than 10 percent of voters’ interest.

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