2016 Presidential Polls: Hillary Clinton Cruising To Democratic Nomination, But Could Face Trouble In General Election

The 2016 presidential polls are pointing toward what looks to be an easy run to the Democratic nomination for Hillary Clinton, but the former Secretary of State could be facing trouble in the general election.

Democratic polls have consistently placed Clinton at the top, with all other candidates still behind in double-digit percentage points. The closest competitor appears to be Bernie Sanders, the left-leaning candidate who is on a wave of grassroots support. New polls this week from Morning Consult and Suffolk University have both shown Sanders up to at least 30 points, and closing the gap with Clinton to 12 points. But experts say this is a temporary surge that will likely fade before primaries begin next year.

Clinton’s likely opponent in the general election is not yet clear. On the Republican side, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has moved to the front of the pack. He has racked up endorsements from 11 of 17 Republicans in the state’s Congressional delegation, an important advantage given that rising GOP star and Florida Senator Marco Rubio is in the race, as well.

But as FiveThirtyEight points out, Bush’s endorsements have not made him a strong candidate.

“The endorsement race echoes the polling (Bush leads national polls by a speck and New Hampshire polls by a bit, and is running in the second tier in Iowa): Bush is a weak front-runner.

When we weight these endorsements by position (10 points for each governor, 5 points for each senator and 1 point for each representative), Bush’s 13 points account for 28 percent of all endorsement points so far. That’s OK, but not great. And most Republican bigwigs haven’t made a choice at all.”

While she is strong on the Democratic side, some polls indicate Clinton could face a tough race for the White House in the general election. A 2016 presidential poll published Wednesday from Quinnipiac University shows that Clinton is in a close race in several states. In Florida, she leads Rubio only 47-44 in a hypothetical matchup, and would be losing to Ohio Gov. John Kasich in the Buckeye state by a margin of 47 percent to 40 percent.

Though Clinton appears to have the Democratic nomination locked up, the poll points out that she could have trouble in the general election, especially given the public’s polarizing views of her.

“U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida runs best against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2016 presidential matchups with eight top Republican contenders in three critical swing states, Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, according to a Quinnipiac University Swing State Poll released today. Voters in each state say by margins of 8 to 14 percentage points that the Democratic front-runner is not honest and trustworthy.”

But others caution against looking too much into the 2016 presidential polls — at least this far ahead of the primaries. While her lead was not as large in 2008, Clinton was also viewed as a shoe-in for the Democratic nomination that cycle before being overtaken by Barack Obama, and there is a lot of time left for scandals, health issues, or anything else to come up that could derail her race.

[Image via Getty Images / Will McNamee]