WASHINGTON — Hillary Rodham Clinton isn’t only the strong front-runner for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, but she’s well ahead of every potential Republican rival, according to a new McClatchy-Marist Poll.
The former secretary of state rolled up support from majorities of voters when pitted against eight different Republicans. Though Clinton isn’t saying whether she will seek the White House, her supporters have been raising money and promoting her candidacy.
The race for the Republican nomination is a free-for-all, with five possible contenders in a virtual tie. Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, who was virtually deadlocked with Clinton as recently as December, has regained some political strength after stumbling early this year but remains far behind the Democrat.
“Hillary Clinton is jogging around the track by herself as far as the Democratic field is concerned. Republicans are all in the starting blocks,” said Lee Miringoff, the director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion in New York, which conducted the poll last week.
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Clinton was the only Democrat in the poll. Among Republicans, former Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas and former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida — who last won their governorships in 2002 — each were named as the top choice of 13 percent of Republicans or Republican leaners. Right behind at 12 percent each were Christie, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.
A host of others, generally well regarded in Republican circles but barely known outside their home states, are far behind.
In single digits were:
• Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, 7 percent.
• Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, 5 percent.
• Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, 4 percent each.
• Former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, 3 percent each.
• Gov. John Kasich of Ohio, less than 1 percent.
No one comes close to Clinton. Ryan does best, getting 43 percent against her 51 percent.
All of the Republicans ran well behind Clinton in head-to-head matchups. She was up by 16 over Bush, 13 over Huckabee, 16 over Rubio, 15 over Cruz, 14 over Paul and 21 over talk-show host Joe Scarborough.
She was viewed favorably by 52 percent, and unfavorably by 43 percent. One particularly encouraging sign for her, Miringoff said, was her 46 percent favorability among whites, a higher percentage than President Obama got in his two elections.
The survey of 1,212 adults was conducted April 7-10 by the Marist Poll sponsored in partnership with McClatchy. Results are statistically significant within 2.8 percentage points.