Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush Tops in New Saint Leo University Polling Institute Surveys

June 12, 2014

According to a new national survey conducted by the Saint Leo University Polling Institute, Hillary Clinton (pictured) maintains a 50 percent lead against six potential Republican presidential candidates. The national opinion poll shows Clinton handily defeating former Governor Jeb Bush, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, U.S. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, U.S. Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, and U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas. She holds leads of 18 to 24 percent over any of her challengers.

“Hillary Clinton appears to be untouchable,” said Frank Orlando, instructor of political science at Saint Leo University. “She owes her strong position (52-55 percent of likely voters) to being much more visible than her Republican challengers nationally. We are over two years away from the election and none of the Republican candidates does appreciably better against her than any of the others,” stated Orlando. In head-to-head comparison, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush (pictured) is the closest candidate with 35 percent of likely voters.

Within the Democratic Party, Clinton faces little resistance should she seek her party’s nomination. Among a list of 13 potential Democratic candidates, 61 percent of likely voter Democrats picked Clinton as their top choice for nominee. Vice President Joe Biden was a distant second, with only 8 percent of likely voter Democrats.

The field for the Republican nominee has no clear frontrunner from 16 potential Republican candidates. Florida native son Jeb Bush topped the field with 16 percent while Christie (11 percent) was the only other Republican candidate with double-digit support. Bush also has the highest favorability rating among Republican voters, at 69/17 (+52). Ryan (+44) and Paul (+41) are next. Christie’s favorability rating among Republicans (54/32, +22) hasn’t recovered from the “Bridgegate” controversy.

The national survey of 1,016 people (general population) was conducted between May 28 and June 4, 2014. The poll was taken prior to the release of Clinton’s new book, Hard Choices.

In the Florida presidential primary, Hillary Clinton carries the Sunshine State versus all Republican nominees for president except former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, according to the polling institute’s new Florida survey of 500 adults conducted during the same time period.

The poll found that Clinton is the first choice of 67 percent of Florida Democrats to be the party’s nominee. Vice President Joe Biden came in second with 7 percent, though he is the second choice of 25 percent of Florida voters.

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush is the top choice of Florida Republicans, if he runs for president. One-third of Florida Republicans (33 percent) named Bush as their first pick from a list of 16 potential Republican candidates. U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, - the only other Republican candidate with double-digit support (12 percent), was second.

“It’s not surprising that their “favorite son [Jeb Bush] would do well in the Sunshine State,” said Frank Orlando, instructor of political science at Saint Leo University. “Because of its diverse demographic population [including a large number of northern ‘transplants’], Florida voters are more highly attuned to the political scene and have a more nuanced perspective that allows for fine-grained assessments,” continued Orlando.

In the Florida Governor’s race, Governor Rick Scott (pictured right) catches former Governor Charlie Crist (pictured left) and they are locked in a statistical tie. Scott leads Crist, 43-41 percent, among likely voters according to the survey, which is within the poll’s margin of error. The remaining 16 percent of voters are undecided.

Scott’s situation has gradually improved during the past six months. A December 2013 Saint Leo University poll had Crist ahead, 46-34 percent. In March 2014, Crist’s lead was 43-39 percent – a statistical tie.

“For the first time since the poll’s inception. Rick Scott has overtaken Charlie Crist,” said Saint Leo’s political expert Frank Orlando. “Scott and Crist are locked in a war of attrition; voters aren’t in love with either one of them,” said Orlando.

The Florida survey of 500 adults (general population) was conducted between May 28 and June 4, 2014.

The Saint Leo University Polling Institute survey results about national politics and policy can be found here: http://polls.saintleo.edu. You can also follow the institute on Twitter @saintleopolls.