Hillary Clinton

Sean Gardner/Getty Images – Hillary Rodham Clinton holds a strong lead over other Democrats in the 2016 race, while the Republican field is wide open, a Washington Post-ABC News poll finds.

By Philip Rucker and Scott Clement
January 30, 2014

Hillary Rodham Clinton holds a commanding 6 to 1 lead over other Democrats heading into the 2016 presidential campaign, while the Republican field is deeply divided with no clear front-runner, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Clinton trounces her potential primary rivals with 73 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, reinforcing a narrative of inevitability around her nomination if she runs. Vice President Biden is second with 12 percent, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) is third with 8 percent.

Although Clinton’s favorability rating has fallen since she stepped down as secretary of state a year ago, she has broad Democratic support across ideological, gender, ethnic and class lines. Her lead is the largest recorded in an early primary matchup in at least 30 years of Post-ABC polling.

The race for the Republican nomination, in contrast, is wide open, with six prospective candidates registering 10 percent to 20 percent support. No candidate has broad backing from both tea party activists and mainline Republicans, signaling potential fissures when the GOP picks a standard-bearer in 2016.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who was at or near the top of the Republican field in many public opinion surveys last year, appears to have suffered politically from the bridge-traffic scandal engulfing his administration.

The new survey puts Christie in third place — with the support of 13 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents — behind Rep. Paul Ryan (Wis.) with 20 percent and former Florida governor Jeb Bush at 18 percent. The rest of the scattered pack includes Sens. Ted Cruz (Tex.), Rand Paul (Ky.) and Marco Rubio (Fla.), who are at 12, 11 and 10 percent, respectively.

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