Democrats Want Hillary to Have Competition on 2016 Ballot

Image: Democrats Want Hillary to Have Competition on 2016 Ballot

Monday, 09 Jun 2014 08:19 AM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Most Democrats say they'd vote for Hillary Clinton if she runs for president, a Washington Post-ABC News poll indicated, but they don't want her to be the only name on the ballot.

According to the poll, released over the weekend, 55 percent of the Democratic-leaning respondents said they think Clinton should face a competitive primary in the 2016 race.

Another 28 percent say they think she should be unopposed on the ballot, and 13 percent do not want to see her running for the White House at all.

But even though they want other people to run against Clinton, two-thirds of the Democrats answering the telephone poll of 1,002 adults between May 29 and June 1 said they wouldn't vote for other potential candidates. These include Vice President Joe Biden, with support from 12 percent of respondents, and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, with 7 percent.

None of the other potential candidates, including former Sen. Jim Webb, Sen. Bernie Sanders, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer, or Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, received more than 2 percent of the vote.

Clinton said in an ABC interview Sunday that she won't be making her intentions known until the end of the year.

"I will be on the way to making a decision by the end of the year," she said. "Certainly not before then."

Clinton is on a promotional tour for her new book, "Hard Choices," which many are seeing as an unofficial start of a presidential campaign.

But Clinton said she wants to get through this year and "travel around the country, sign books, help in the midterm elections in the fall, and then take a deep breath and kind of go through my pluses and minuses about what I will — and will not — be thinking about as I make the decision."

Clinton, 66, lost to President Barack Obama in 2008 for the Democratic presidential nomination. After he won the election, he named her secretary of state.

But even criticism over her tenure as secretary, including lingering questions about the attacks in Benghazi, Libya, that left four dead, have not dimmed her appeal among Democrats.

When Clinton departed as secretary of state last year, she was the most popular outgoing secretary in recent years, the Post reported, and 59 percent of the public still approves of her service, the newest poll shows.

Her numbers have dipped from 68 percent in late 2012, the poll revealed, but 67 percent of the survey's respondents still say she is a strong leader.

The poll also suggests the public is willing to view Clinton separately from Obama, giving him only a 41 percent approval rating on how he handles foreign policy. This was an all-time low for Obama, the Post reported.

"More people blame the White House than they blame the secretary of state, and that strikes me as quite appropriate," Kori Schake, a former State Department official during the George W. Bush administration, told the Post. The public "admires Secretary Clinton’s toughness and how much she got out there and tried to do stuff."

Even so, the Benghazi attack is still an issue for some voters when it comes to Clinton. The poll found that half of the public disapproves of how she handled the response to the tragedy. However, 59 percent said they believe she has new ideas for the future, and more than half say she is honest and trustworthy.

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