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Hillary Meter: Clinton Holds Her Ground After Iowa, New Hampshire

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Despite a near-tie in Iowa and a big loss in New Hampshire to Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton is still seen by most Democrats as likely to win their party’s presidential nomination.

The latest Rasmussen Reports monthly Hillary Meter finds that 81% of Likely Democratic Voters think Clinton is likely to be their party’s presidential nominee in 2016. That includes 43% who say it is Very Likely, showing no change from a month ago before the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary. Still, belief that Clinton’s nomination is Very Likely was well over 50% in November  and  December.  Just 15% now feel the former secretary of State is not very or Not At All Likely to win the nomination. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

At the beginning of this month following the Iowa caucus, Clinton held a 50% to 32% over Sanders among Democratic voters on a hypothetical primary ballot. 

Among all likely voters, 71% believe Clinton is the likely Democratic nominee, but just 32% now say it is Very Likely. These findings also show minimal change from the previous survey, but the number who thinks a Clinton nomination is Very Likely is the lowest since September. Twenty-seven percent (27%) say Clinton is unlikely to be the nominee, although that includes only nine percent (9%) who say it’s Not At All Likely.

In December, 80% said Clinton is likely to be the Democratic nominee, with 52% who felt it was Very Likely.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on February 15-16, 2016 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Democratic voters felt in late January that the media is creating the perception that Clinton’s campaign is stumbling. Voters in general were more likely to believe her campaign is really in trouble.

Fifty-seven percent (57%) of all voters believe Clinton in political terms is a liberal. Thirty-one percent (31%) say she is a moderate, while just five percent (5%) describe her as conservative. These findings have changed little from past surveys, but in Rasmussen Reports’ first Hillary Meter – in April 2005 during her last run for the presidency - 43% said Clinton was liberal, 34% moderate and eight percent (8%) conservative.

Among Democrats, just 37% consider Clinton politically liberal; 47% think she’s moderate and eight percent (8%) a conservative. These findings are identical to those measured in the previous survey. Seventy-nine percent (79%) of Republicans and 55% of voters not affiliated with either major party say Clinton is a liberal.

It's interesting to note that Republican voters also tend to think GOP front-runner Donald Trump is a political moderate.

Men and women feel similarly when it comes to the likelihood of a Clinton nomination. Men are more likely than women to see Clinton as politically liberal.

Though Clinton continues to struggle against Sanders among those under 40, these voters are only slightly less likely than their elders to expect the former first lady to be the ultimate nominee.

Fifty-seven percent (57%) of black voters say it’s Very Likely Clinton will win the nomination, a view shared by only 29% of whites and 32% of other minority voters. Clinton is counting on black voters to give her commanding victories in South Carolina and future primaries.

Prominent female supporters of Clinton recently declared that women voters have an obligation to vote for a woman candidate, but women overwhelmingly reject that notion.

When it comes to which candidate voters trust more on key issues, Trump leads when it comes to the economy, job creation and immigration. Clinton has held her lead on social issues but has widened her advantage on the environment. The two are virtually tied now when voters are asked whom they trust more to handle national security.

At the close of last year, Clinton and Trump remained all tied up in a hypothetical presidential matchup. If former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg gets in the race, it will be bad for Clinton and good for Trump.

Two senior Republican senators have called for the Justice Department to step aside and choose an independent special prosecutor to decide whether Clinton should be prosecuted for mishandling classified information while she was secretary of State. Most voters think that’s the way to go to avoid any possible conflict of interest.

Most voters still believe it’s likely Clinton broke the law by sending and receiving classified information through a private e-mail server, but they are far less convinced that serious charges will be brought against her. 

Additional information from this survey and a full demographic breakdown are available to Platinum Members only.

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We conduct public opinion polls on a variety of topics to inform our audience on events in the news and other topics of interest. To ensure editorial control and independence, we pay for the polls ourselves and generate revenue through the sale of subscriptions, sponsorships, and advertising. Nightly polling on politics, business and lifestyle topics provides the content to update the Rasmussen Reports web site many times each day. If it's in the news, it's in our polls. Additionally, the data drives a daily update newsletter and various media outlets across the country.

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