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Clinton vs. Walker: It’s Very Close

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

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

Forty-six percent (46%) of Likely U.S. Voters say they would vote for Clinton in a matchup with Walker if the 2016 presidential contest were held today. But a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that nearly as many (41%) would choose Walker instead. Eight percent (8%) prefer some other candidate, while six percent (6%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Seventy-eight percent (78%) say they are following recent news reports about the 2016 presidential race at least somewhat closely, with 35% who are following Very Closely. Among voters who are following the closest, Walker leads Clinton 51% to 43%.

This is the first time Rasmussen Reports has matched Walker against Clinton in a hypothetical presidential faceoff. Two other top GOP contenders, showcased most recently at the just concluded Conservative Political Action Conference, earn numbers against the former secretary of State and first lady similar to what we’ve seen in previous surveys.

Among all likely voters, Clinton gets 45% support to former Florida Governor Jeb Bush’s 36%. Twelve percent (12%) like another candidate given this matchup. Seven percent (7%) are undecided. A year ago at this time, Clinton posted a 47% to 33% lead over Bush.

Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson trails Clinton 47% to 36%, little changed from June of last year. Eight percent (8%) favor some other candidate in a Clinton-Carson race, and 10% are undecided.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on February 28-March 1, 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.

In a mid-January survey of Likely Republican Voters, Mitt Romney, the unsuccessful GOP presidential nominee in 2012, was the leader among nine potential candidates for next year’s nomination. But Bush, Carson and Walker were all nearly tied for second place. Carson’s and Walker’s showings were all the more impressive, considering that nearly one-quarter of the voters in the survey said they had never heard of either of them. Romney has since announced that he will not run.

Clinton remains far and away the leader for her party’s 2016 nomination among Likely Democratic Voters.

Generally, with an election this far in the future, it’s mostly about name recognition. It’s important to remember that Clinton dominated the race for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination three years before the election, but when Illinois Senator Barack Obama formally entered the race in January 2007, it suddenly was a tie contest.

Walker runs strongest of the three Republicans among Likely GOP Voters and among voters not affiliated with either of the major political parties.

Clinton earns support in the low 80s against all three among Likely Democratic Voters. She edges Walker by three points among unaffiliateds but has slightly larger leads against Bush and Carson.

In all three matchups, Clinton has a double-digit lead among women voters. Among men, she has smaller leads over Bush and Carson but is tied with Walker

Clinton is well ahead in all three cases among voters under 40. Those over 65 are more likely to prefer the Republican in nearly every matchup.

When Romney was still flirting with the idea of running in 2016, most voters, including most Republicans, said the GOP should look for a fresh face to be its next presidential standard-bearer.

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren is increasingly the favorite of left-leaning Democrats, but Clinton trounces her in a head-to-head matchup for their party’s 2016 presidential nomination. 

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

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

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