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54% Think Democrats Should Run A Fresh Face in 2016

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Most voters think the Democratic Party should look for a presidential newcomer in 2016, and over half of Democrats don't disagree.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 54% of Likely U.S. Voters believe Democrats should look for a fresh face to run for president in 2016 rather than promote a candidate who has already run in the past. Only 22% think Democrats should go with a candidate from the past. Just as many (23%) are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Ask Likely Democratic Voters that same question, and a plurality (44%) believes the party should promote a candidate who has already run in the past. That’s no surprise, given that Hillary Clinton, who unsuccessfully sought the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008, is the overwhelming favorite for 2016.

What is surprising, though, is that 57% of Democrats won’t commit to someone from the past, with 36% who think their party needs a fresh face and a sizable 21% who are undecided.

Of course, by comparison, when Mitt Romney was flirting with running again next year, 64% of all voters said Republicans should look for a fresh face to run for president in 2016, and 60% of Republicans agreed.

Forty-eight percent (48%) of voters share a favorable opinion of Hillary Clinton, while 49% view her unfavorably. This includes 21% with a Very Favorable view and 33% with a Very Unfavorable one.

In September, 53% viewed Clinton favorably, 45% unfavorably. In December 2012 when she announced her intention to step down as secretary of State, Clinton was still the most popular member of President Obama’s cabinet, viewed favorably by 61% of voters.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on March 16-17, 2015 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.

Voters have national security concerns about Clinton’s recently disclosed use of a private e-mail provider while serving as secretary of State but aren’t as sure she was trying to hide anything. More troubling are the large donations made to the private Clinton Foundation by foreign governments while Clinton was the nation’s chief overseas diplomat.

Eighty-four percent (84%) of Democrats have a favorable opinion of Clinton. Predictably, 80% of GOP voters view her unfavorably, and 70% think Democrats should look for a fresh face next year.

Perhaps of greater concern to Democrats is the finding that 56% of voters not affiliated with either major party also view Clinton unfavorably, including 34% with a Very Unfavorable opinion. Fifty-eight percent (58%) of these voters think the Democratic Party should find someone new to run in 2016.

The older the voter, the more likely he or she is to have an unfavorable opinion of Clinton.

Sixty-five percent (65%) of blacks and 56% of other minority voters share a favorable view of the former first lady and U.S. senator. Fifty-four percent (54%) of whites hold an unfavorable opinion of her.

Among voters who think Democrats need to run a fresh face next year, 32% view Clinton favorably. But this compares to 80% favorables among those who believe the party should promote a candidate who has run in the past. Fifty-two percent (52%) of voters who are undecided also have a favorable opinion of Clinton.

Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden jump to the head of the list of Democratic contenders if Clinton chooses not to run for president in 2016.

More voters than ever think the circumstances surrounding the murder of the U.S. ambassador and three other U.S. Embassy employees in Benghazi, Libya will hurt Clinton if she runs for president in 2016.

Only 28% of voters think Clinton and Obama like each other, but 75% think the president is likely to endorse her over other Democratic contenders if she runs next year.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has surged to the front of the pack of Republican presidential hopefuls in recent weeks, and he now gives Clinton a run for her money.

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

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