Doug Schoen: Hillary 'Front-Runner on Both Sides' for 2016

Monday, 23 Sep 2013 04:17 PM

By Jim Meyers and Kathleen Walter

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Political analyst and Democratic pollster Doug Schoen tells Newsmax that Hillary Clinton is "the front-runner on both sides" if she decides to run for president in 2016.

He also opines that Republicans are making a "political mistake" in backing a bill to defund Obamacare.

Schoen is the author of the book "Hopelessly Divided: The New Crisis in American Politics and What It Means for 2012 and Beyond."

Story continues below video.

In an exclusive interview with Newsmax TV at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York on Monday, Schoen assesses a potential White House run by Clinton.

"First, there is legitimate concern and indecision," he says. "It's a big decision. She served a long time as secretary of state, four years in the Senate before that. So she has to decide if she wants to go through the rigors of the campaign."

"But that being said, she's the front-runner on both sides if in fact she decides to go do it."

"I don't know if it's all but certain, but I do see her running. She'll be elected, and she's on the odds-on favorite as we talk today."

As to who from the GOP could challenge her, Schoen says: "There are lots of Republicans but I haven't seen a front-runner emerge, and the Republican strategy has been less than ideal."

Asked if the Benghazi tragedy could hurt Clinton's candidacy, Schoen responds: "Anybody who's served as secretary of state and unfortunately was in office during that tragedy, has to answer, as she has done before and as she will have to do again."

"But she has a 60 percent approval nationally, she is loved in Democratic circles, respected by independents and Republicans, and is very well positioned."

Turning to the GOP plan to defund Obamacare but continue funding the government, Schoen says: "It's a political mistake. The Republicans know it can't pass the Senate, that they will be blamed if the government shuts down, and [that] at this point the Republicans are poised to make gains in the election in 2014. But this kind of strategy which involves intransigence will arguably hurt them, not help them.

"The Democrats and the president are falling but the Republican image is arguably worse, and ideas like this, which appeal to the Republican base but have no practical chance of success, can only hurt the Republican brand."

A recent Zogby poll has President Barack Obama at 43 percent approval, 54 percent disapproval. Asked about these numbers, Schoen tells Newsmax: "There's a sense of a stagnating economy, a sense that internationally we're still at risk despite the deal with the Russians on Syria, a sense that Obamacare is increasingly unpopular, and a clear desire in many, many people to have a new direction.

"The Democrats are sinking quickly. The only thing propping them up is an increasingly unpopular and, sadly, out of touch Republican majority in the House of Representatives."

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