Bush and Clinton Maintain Leads in Latest Saint Leo Poll

June 15, 2015

In a new national survey conducted by the Saint Leo University Polling Institute slightly before the formal announcement of his presidential candidacy, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush continued to hold a narrow lead over the large Republican field of candidates. Still, U.S. Senators Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio have all gained support in the past three months. Here are the results to the same question posed to self-identified Republicans for the March and June national online polls.

We know it’s early, but thinking about the presidential election in 2016 … here is a list of potential candidates who may run for the Republican nomination. If the Republican primary for president were held today, which one of the following would you support for the Republican nomination?

March June GOP Possibilities
15% 16% Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush
8% 13% U.S. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky
7% 13% U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas
7% 10% U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida
8% 7% Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker
7% 7% Dr. Ben Carson
7% 6% New Jersey Governor Chris Christie
7% 5% Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee

Bush also led when likely Republican primary voters were asked to name their second choice. Where the former Florida governor really stands out is in the question asking people which candidate they expect will be the nominee, with 29 percent of Republican voters expecting Bush.

Regardless of whom you personally support, which candidate do you think is most likely to win the Republican nomination for president in 2016?

March June GOP Possibilities
27% 29% Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush
8% 8% U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida
2% 8% U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas
10% 7% Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker
7% 7% U.S. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky
6% 6% New Jersey Governor Chris Christie

Bush Maintains His Lead Among Republicans

“Bush is maintaining his position but seems to be losing some enthusiasm among Republicans,” said Frank Orlando, instructor of political science at Saint Leo University. “His strongly favorable/strongly unfavorable rating among Republicans is as low as it’s been since last June. Despite that, his head-to-head with Hillary Clinton result [shown below] was his best showing ever in our national poll,” stated Orlando.

Within the Democratic arena, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s challengers for the Democratic nomination barely registered in the sample of 265 likely Democratic primary voters. The respondents were contacted before Clinton’s formal announcement Saturday, June 13. Clinton was named the first choice candidate by 52 percent of Democrats. Announced challengers—U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, former Governor of Rhode Island Lincoln Chafee, and former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley—took less than 10 percent combined. Most Democrats expected Clinton will be the party’s nominee, indicated by 57 percent of Democrats.

We know it’s early, but thinking about the presidential election in 2016 … here is a list of potential candidates who may run for the Democratic nomination. If the Democratic primary for president were held today, which one of the following would you support for the Democratic nomination?

March June Democratic Possibilities
50% 52% Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
11% 19% Vice President Joe Biden
8% 5% U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts
3% 5% U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont
6% 4% New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
3% 2% U.S. Senator Corey Booker of New Jersey
1% 2% Former U.S. Senator Jim Webb of Virginia
—— 2% Former Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee
2% 1% U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York
1% ‹1% U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota
2% ‹1% Former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley

Clinton is Still the Democratic Frontrunner Despite Erosion of Favorability

“Clinton’s favorability continues to erode but she’s still the overwhelming favorite among Democrats,” continued Saint Leo’s Orlando. “Our national survey results put her as low as she’s been among the general public. This isn’t surprising, as maintaining the favorability she enjoyed last summer long-term was untenable. The odds are that as the campaign ramps up, her standing will continue to slip. However, at this point, none of the other potential Democratic candidates we polled have enough visibility to make a mark,” he said.

In the most recent polling, with 790 likely voters responding, Clinton continued to defeat all Republican challengers in hypothetical general election matchups—but her support has fallen under 50 percent:

47% Hillary Clinton Jeb Bush 43%
49% Hillary Clinton Rand Paul 42%
48% Hillary Clinton Chris Christie 38%
47% Hillary Clinton Marco Rubio 40%
47% Hillary Clinton Scott Walker 38%

The Saint Leo University Polling Institute survey results about national and Florida politics, public policy issues, Pope Francis’ popularity, and other topics, can be found here: http://polls.saintleo.edu. You can also follow the institute on Twitter @saintleopolls.