Two new polls from last week prove Americans want a Hillary Clinton, Mitt Romney match-up in the 2016 presidential campaign. A new ABC News/Washington Post poll was released on Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014 looking at the 2016 Election and where the potential candidates stand with American voters. A poll released earlier in the week on Oct. 14 by Des Moines Register-Bloomberg News looking at who “likely” voters would vote for. Hillary Clinton beats the entire field of candidates “except one” Mitt Romney, proving that he is the only Republican who can go up against Hillary.
In the ABC News/Washington Post poll looking at national voter support Romney might be leading the Republican field, but Hillary leads by a large margin. Clinton has 64 percent support from Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, Vice President Joe Biden comes in as he does in most polls a distant second with only 13 percent, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who insists she does not intend to run has 11 percent.
Romney tops the Republican field, but by only 21 percent support of Republican and Republican leaning independents. It is a tie for second place with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee at 10 percent, which is less than half the support Romney has. The rest of the field has only single digits showings, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul had 9 percent, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie had 8 percent, and coming in last was Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, Romney’s 2012 Vice-Presidential running mate.
The Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics Iowa Poll however, found Romney has the support of 44 percent of voters, while Hillary has 43 percent. Breaking down the poll, 49 percent of Americans view Clinton negatively, while 47 percent who view her favorably. Americans like Romney more with a 48 percent favorable rating, but with a 45 percent negative rating. Even in 2008, Clinton faced support problems in Iowa, and the state is still a difficult one for her. In that poll, Romney also topped the Republican field. Romney had 17 percent, Maryland Neurosurgeon Ben Carson second at 11 percent, Paul at 10 percent. The remaining field ranked in the single digits, Huckabee at 9 percent, Ryan at 8 percent. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Perry tied at 7 percent, Christie at a 6 percent, and Bush at 4 percent.
Hillary Clinton is no longer being coy about a potential run for the Democratic presidential nomination. Although she previously indicated that she will make a decision after the start of 2015, it now seems she might make an announcement sooner, it all depends about the result of the midterm elections. The Democratic Party might need Clinton to announce her candidacy earlier to serve “as its Noah’s ark” so that as the New York Times explains “voters and donors could channel their enthusiasm.” With a Democratic president and a Republican Congress, nothing will really be accomplished, and it will truly be a lame duck period for Democrats and President Barack Obama. At the minimum, Clinton would have to announce an exploratory committee after the midterms, which will allow her to fundraise and then she could formally announce her candidacy in the new year.
According to recent average of the main polls out that have been release by the media, the Republicans have a 72 percent chance of winning control of the Senate. The New York Times reports that the Republicans have a 64 percent chance of winning the Senate, while the Democrats only have a 36 percent chance. President Obama and the Democrats have been trying to break the second term curse; whereas presidents usually see their party lose seats in the midterm elections of their second term, especially if they have low job performance approval ratings as Obama does.
In August, Romney first alluded to the fact that he might consider another run for the Republican Presidential nomination, answering that if “Circumstances can change” he would consider a run. Romney’s answer left a glimmer of possibility that he might run for president in 2016 if the “circumstances” were optimal for him to win in his third attempt for the presidency. Although Romney’s wife Ann recently stated to the Los Angeles Times that, she and their sons are “done, done, done” with campaigning. In an earlier interview with Fox News’ Neil Cavuto, Ann Romney’s answer was more open, saying “We will see, won’t we?,” and then afterwards in an appearance on CNN’s “New Day” she expressed; “we never say never.” The “circumstances” and “we’ll see” responses in variation have remained Romney’s answers since then. In an Oct. 5 New York Times Magazine interview “I have nothing to add to the story. We’ve got a lot of people looking at the race. We’ll see what happens.”
Clinton and Romney come up on top, not just because of name recognition, but after eight years of severely partisan politics in Washington, Americans are looking for more moderate candidate. Both would represent the middle of road choice for their parties optimizing their chances to pick up and appeal to the most important voter demographic, independents. Their cross party appeal have made both Clinton and Romney the most visible representatives from their parties on the midterm campaign trail. Clinton has been far more requested than President Obama, who most Democrats in tough races are distancing themselves from the president and his policies. Romney is also the GOP’s most requested on the 2014 campaign trail and fundraising. Romney has been effective on the campaign trail, and has been as CNN put it one of the “fiercest critics of President Barack Obama’s foreign and defense policies.”
Part of Romney’s appeal is that the GOP needs someone influential enough and well known enough to step up and compete with Clinton. In Aug. Romney remained concerned about his chances of beating Hillary, that is one of the most important factors in his consideration of a third presidential run. The Des Moines Register-Bloomberg News released poll indicated Romney can beat her. Since August Romney has been most of the recent polls, the results shows he is the most acceptable name on the Republican roster. Romney however, might not run should Jeb Bush or Chris Christie decide to, both have the name recognition. Romney has also been proved right on a number of issues from the 2012 campaign where he was ridiculed and criticized including Detroit, terrorism, and Russia.
The fact that Romney was not conservative enough for the Republican establishment in 2012 is no longer a problem. Faced with the prospects of a much more conservative Sen. Ted Cruz, who rose through the Tea Party wave into Congress and Rand Paul, a moderate that would appeal to independents is desirable. Looking at the rest of the field both Texas Governor Rick Perry and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie face scandals over the handling of affairs in their state, although Perry beats Christie with the fact that his carries along felony charges. As for former Governor Jeb Bush, maybe his mother Barbara Bush is right there were enough Bushes in the White House, especially for the last year 25 years.
As for Hillary, her husband Bill Clinton’s presidency in the 1990s now looks down right bipartisan, considering the absolute gridlock of today, even though it hardly was. After 20 years his presidency is looked at as time of prosperity. After four years of being President Barack Obama’s Secretary of State, Clinton is trying differentiate her foreign policy vision, one more hawkish than the current president and more in tune to Republicans. She is not the only one trying to distance themselves from Obama to get elected, so are many Democratic candidates calling her to campaign with them.
Still time makes people forget that Clinton’s presidency was filled with scandal. Recent documents released by the National Archives should a president and administration more occupied with covering up the president sex scandals than governing, which might be why Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden ascended and were able to cause the terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2001. Americans try to forget 9/11 and that the Clinton administration, out only nine months holds some if not more responsibility for the attack that was held on Republican George W. Bush’s watch. Now with the foreign threats such as the Ebola Outbreak, the rise of terrorist organization ISIS, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, the United States needs a strong leader in their next president.
On the campaign trail Clinton is taking the polls and chatter about Romney to heart. At an campaign event for Michigan Democratic candidates for Senate Rep. Gary Peters and for governor Mark Schauer at Oakland University in Rochester, outside of Detroit Clinton jabbed Romney for an op-ed he wrote in 2008 against the auto bailout plan, which was entitled “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.” Clinton expressed; “They could have lined up with those saying, ‘Let Detroit go bankrupt. Let manufacturing just wither away,’ They could have been on the side of those who were criticizing what they called Government Motors.” Even though Clinton did not call Romney by name, she was clearing trying to take him down a few notches, remind Americans about what did not like about Romney the first and second time his was running in 2008 and 2012. Hillary was hoping to deflect from the problems she has from her own 2008 run, and her husband’s presidential scandals.
- ABC News / Washington Post Poll: 2016 Election, Oct. 19. 2014
Bonnie K. Goodman is the Editor of the Academic Buzz Network, a series of political, academic & education blogs which includes History Musings: History, News & Politics. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies, both from McGill University, and has done graduate work in Jewish history at Concordia University as part of the MA in Judaic Studies program. She covers US, Canadian & Israeli politics, with a particular focus on the Obama presidency, Congress, domestic policy, and elections.