Hillary Is Democratic Favorite In Iowa For 2016, Santorum/Huckabee/Christie Tied Among Republicans

Yes, that’s right, we have our first poll of the 2016 Iowa Caucuses which, if President Obama is re-elected, would be an open field for both parties just as it was in 2008:

Hillary Clinton continues to have a dominant lead in Iowa Democrats’ preferences for their 2016 presidential nominee almost three years before actual candidates will begin chowing down on cobs of corn.  The straw poll on the Republican side is much closer, with three candidates locked at the top and two others in double digits.

Clinton tops Vice President Joe Biden 60-18, with no one else even approaching 5%.  New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren each have 3%, Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer and Virginia Sen. Mark Warner are at 1%, and Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick register almost no support.  14% favor someone else or are not sure.

The victors of the two most recent Republican caucuses, Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum, are tied at 17%, with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie right on their tails at 16%, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul at 11%, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio at 10%, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush at 8%, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan at 6%, and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin each at 4%, with only 8% not behind a candidate.

If Clinton did not run, Biden would lead Cuomo 36-14, with Warren at 8% and the others still in the low single digits.  Without Biden, Cuomo leads Warren 20-11.

The GOP contenders are all pretty well-known and well-liked, but beyond Clinton and Biden, there are few recognizable names on the left side of the aisle.  The least-known Republican is Walker, of whom 38% surprisingly have no opinion, but 55% of Democrats cannot say how they feel about Cuomo, 60% of Warren, and 80-90% of the others.  Then again, few had yet heard of a certain state senator from Illinois at this point in 2004.

It is, of course, ridiculously early for anyone to be talking about this right now and this poll is more of a reflection of name recognition and popularity than anything else. Indeed, many of the people listed in this poll might not even run for President. If Hillary Clinton runs, for example, I cannot see many top Democrats openly challenging her a second time around. Even if she doesn’t, though, I don’t see Elizabeth Warren as a viable candidate for President only 3 years into her first term in the Senate, assuming she wins. And yes, yes, I know about the history of Barack Obama. On the Republican side, Christie’s future is unknown until 2013 when he’s up for re-election. If he wins, then he’s golden. If he loses, then he’s a likely candidate for Attorney General in a future Republican Administration.

In both cases, of course, there is probably someone not on the lists above who is going to enter the race.

Anyway, only42 months until the 2016 Iowa Caucuses!

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. wr says:

    “If he loses, then he’s a likely candidate for Attorney General in a future Republican Administration.”

    Because nothing defines the Republican approach to law enforcement better than handing out sweetheart deals to shovel millions of dollars to your buddies to build private prisons with few guards, no protections for prisoners, and constant escapes. There’s no government program that Republicans won’t turn into money spouts for their buddies.

  2. Tsar Nicholas says:

    It’s never too early to engage in pointless speculation about elections. I love that sort of thing.

    If Obama wins reelection then 2016 very well could turn into the nastiest, most preposterous political conflagration of all time.

    Just imagine on the Democrat side if Hillary, Cuomo, Patrick and Schumer all decide to run. Watching Democrat primaries break along strict racial and age-based lines was surreal in 2008, a repeat of that truly would be amazing theater. The whole northeastern vibe I think would augment that dynamic.

    Then on the GOP side we might actually witness the flaming toxic disaster of a train wreck that would accompany Palin and Bachmann vying for the same territory at the same time. Yikes. Add in the addled likes of Santorum and DeMint, not to mention Christie’s bull in a china shop routine, and it could make this year’s farce of a primary season look positively brilliant by comparison.

  3. al-Ameda says:

    I don’t care what Iowa’s presidential preferences are, period.

    All major politicians of any party and all media should boycott Iowa and its bogus caucus system.

  4. Ernieyeball says:

    All major politicians of any party and all media should boycott Iowa and its bogus caucus system.

    U don’t really think this will happen do you?

  5. al-Ameda says:


    U don’t really think this will happen do you?

    Despite the obvious fact that Iowa’s caucus system is a national disgrace, no, I do not think that the Media will refuse to cover the next presidential campaign season in Iowa.

    Look what happened this time around – Romney declared the winner, then … oops, make that Santorum. Everyone should boycott Iowa during the campaign season.

  6. Ernieyeball says:

    I can just see it now…”No Media Coverage of Iowa Caucus…No Results Available…Charges of Fraud and Corruption Rampant but no one outside Iowa will ever know since there is a blackout on political coverage of the Iowa Cacus for the good of the Country.”

    So this is all the media’s fault. Looks to me like a more honest approach to all this would be to work to change Iowa Election Law.

    Iowa Code

    43.4 Political party precinct caucuses.
    Delegates to county conventions of political parties and party committee
    members shall be elected at precinct caucuses held not later than the fourth
    Monday in February of each even-numbered year. The date shall be at least
    eight days earlier than the scheduled date for any meeting, caucus, or primary
    which constitutes the first determining stage of the presidential nominating
    process in any other state, territory, or any other group which has the authority
    to select delegates in the presidential nomination. The state central committees
    of the political parties shall set the date for their caucuses. The county
    chairperson of each political party shall issue the call for the caucuses. The
    county chairperson shall file with the commissioner the meeting place of each
    precinct caucus at least seven days prior to the date of holding the caucus.
    There shall be selected among those present at a precinct caucus a
    chairperson and a secretary who shall within seven days certify to the county
    central committee the names of those elected as party committee members and
    delegates to the county convention.
    When the rules of a political party require the selection and reporting of
    delegates selected as part of the presidential nominating process, or the rules of
    a political party require the tabulation and reporting of the number of persons
    attending the caucus favoring each presidential candidate, it is the duty of a
    person designated as provided by the rules of that political party to report the
    results of the precinct caucus as directed by the state central committee of that
    political party. When the person designated to report the results of the precinct
    caucus reports the results, representatives of each candidate, if they so choose,
    may accompany the person as the results are being reported to assure that an
    accurate report of the proceedings is reported. If ballots are used at the precinct
    caucus, representatives of each candidate or other persons attending the
    precinct caucus may observe the tabulation of the results of the balloting.
    Within fourteen days after the date of the caucus the county central
    committee shall certify to the county commissioner the names of those elected
    as party committee members and delegates to the county convention. The
    commissioner shall retain precinct caucus records for twenty-two months. In
    addition, within fourteen days after the date of the precinct caucus, the
    chairperson of the county central committee shall deliver to the county
    commissioner all completed voter registration forms received at the caucus.
    The central committee of each political party shall notify the delegates and
    committee members so elected and certified of their election and of the time and
    place of holding the county convention. Such conventions shall be held either
    preceding or following the primary election but no later than ten days following
    the primary election and shall be held on the same day throughout the state.
    [S13, §1087-a1; C24, 27, 31, 35, 39, §530; C46, 50, 54, 58, 62, 66, 71, 73, 75, 77, 79, 81,

  7. superdestroyer says:

    The 2016 Iowa caucuses are actually more important than the 2012 general election. No one realistically believe that Romney is going to win. All the talk of polls and battleground states is just a way for the wonks and the wannabes to keep themselves occupied.

    Since the media is finally beginning to admit that the Republican Party is irrelevant http://www.politico.com/blogs/charlie-mahtesian/2012/07/whos-to-blame-for-the-calif-gop-collapse-129801.html , everyone should realize that the Iowa Democratic Party caucuses and the New Hampshire Democratic Party primary in 2016 will be the real election for president.

    If the same candidate wins both Democratic Party elections in 2016, then everyone will know how the next president will be a full year before the inaugural.

  8. John Peabody says:

    Doug, c’mon! You posted dozens of articles before the 2012 Iowa caucus, and then snidely said that they were meaningless the instant they were over. So? Don’t blog about it, then! Escpecially three $%$&*#$in’ years before the event. This is quite irritating.