WASHINGTON - Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton got some good news in the latest national poll looking at the 2016 race for president. The same survey, though, also shows that Republicans continue to have an advantage in this year’s midterm congressional elections.
In the latest Quinnipiac University poll, Clinton maintains an overwhelming lead against potential Democratic rivals. She is supported by 58 percent of those surveyed, followed by Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren at 11 percent, and Vice President Joe Biden at nine percent.
The poll comes as Clinton continues a tour promoting her book Hard Choices about her time as secretary of state. Clinton has said she will decide whether to run for president by early next year.
Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac poll, said, “Hillary Clinton has weathered what some would say are bad book sales, some questions about her tenure at the State Department, some questions about what she defines as wealth, and yet she sweeps the Democratic field in the 2016 race, so Hillary is still looking very good.”
The poll also shows Clinton easily defeating several potential Republican presidential contenders, including New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.
There is no clear Republican frontrunner at the moment for the 2016 nomination in the Quinnipiac survey. Paul leads a crowded pack with 11 percent support, followed by Christie, Huckabee and Bush, all with 10 percent each.
Malloy said no one Republican is surging at the moment, which is not unusual two years before a presidential election.
“If you look at it right now, the numbers are 11 percent, 10 percent, eight percent. All of these people, the top seven of them, are all about in the same position. So there is just not a lot of momentum on the Republican side,” he said.
Congress remains focused on this year’s midterm elections where all 435 seats in the House of Representatives are at stake along with 36 of the 100 seats in the Senate. Republicans control the House while Democrats have a majority in the Senate.
The Quinnipiac poll found voters would narrowly prefer Republican majorities in both chambers by a margin of 46 to 44 percent, according to Malloy.
“Republicans have a slight advantage going into the congressional elections, but statistically not that big a number. In fact if you look at it, people are pretty disgusted with politics generally and certainly with the performance of the Congress. So right now it is kind of a toss-up,” he said.
Most analysts predict that Republicans will hold their majority in the House and have an excellent chance of gaining the six seats they need in the Senate to wrest control away from Democrats.
John Fortier, with the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, said, “Republicans have an advantage. It is a midterm election with a Democratic president. Usually those elections go to the out party. The president is not doing very well, and I would say on the Senate side there are really a lot of opportunities for Republicans to take seats, seats that are in very Republican areas that are up for grabs.”
Obama’s approval ratings have been low of late. But Quinnipiac pollster Malloy said his survey does include a slight uptick in public optimism about the economy, and that could help Democrats in November.