Countdown to 2016: Opening Polls

It might seem like a long way away but already the American public is being asked about their voting intentions based on the current list of potential candidates. Even though it might seem that it’s too far away to pick out the signal from the noise, there is enough information to at least be able to form initial expectations and possibly for the parties to begin looking towards their picks for the ballot. After all, in the last campaign it took way too long for the Republicans to pick their candidate, wasting precious time and allowing Obama to get a head start. With a potentially strong field for both parties, neither of them can afford to allow that to happen this time around, making these initial results all that more valuable. We recently looked at the Republicans and the Democrats who could potentially contest the next election.


Polling suggests that the main candidates for the Democrats are Joe Biden; Hillary Clinton and Andrew Cuomo. However, it’s clear that there is a leading candidate, at least amongst the mind’s of the public, with Clinton currently leading most polls. Out of the most recent, Hillary has led every single one, receiving 52% support in the lowest result, regularly gaining above 60% when people are asked who they would vote for in the Democratic primaries. Nobody else even comes close, with Biden able to achieve around 20% of the vote. It’s clear that the Clinton brand, as well as the work that Hillary put in as Secretary of State, means that she should be able to see off any potential challenge quickly.

As I said before, as long as Hillary doesn’t do anything wrong before the next election, she should be Democratic nomination.


For the Republicans, the battle isn’t as clear cut. For starters, the potential candidates are far stronger than for the 2012 election. These include Marco Rubio; Jeb Bush; Chris Christie; Rand Paul and Paul Ryan. All appealing to different groups, it’s likely that the Republican opinion polls could change regularly in the run up to the election. The results have been mixed so far, but it’s usually been Marco Rubio who has been leading the pack, with Chris Christie falling from grace following recent events, after he led a few of the initial polls. Jeb Bush isn’t far behind. With no clear candidate, there is a risk that the party could fall into the same trap as 2012.

They probably won’t pick a candidate quickly, and even then, they’re likely to be divided and won’t all get behind their candidate, making it all that bit easier for the Democrats to win. Most importantly, they need to pick a candidate that the public likes best, not one that sticks to the “traditional” ideas.

Head to Head

This is likely to be the area that changes the most in the run up to the 2015 election. It’s one thing picking a candidate for each party, which are sometimes tightly controlled, but another thing when it comes to the open elections where a lot of swing votes come into play. However, just like the Democratic polls, these currently show one winner: Hillary Clinton. Whichever potential Republican candidate that she is paired up with, whether it’s Rubio, Bush or Christie, she’s able to beat with a typical lead of around three to five percentage points. However, one potential problem is that at this stage, the polls don’t go into the Electoral College which is how the President is elected. With that in mind, things could change easily, but with her current lead, Clinton looks likely to be the next President.

Overall it’s clear that the American public has one clear favourite in mind for the next election. When it comes to the campaign, it’s going to be fiercely fought so anything could happen, especially since it’s likely that many would vote for more Democrats at this stage in Obama’s presidency. Yet again it looks like ‘likeability’ is going to be key and while the Presidential election might not be that exciting come 2015, the races for the House and the Senate could be very exiting indeed.