Tallahassee Journal

Clinton maintains big lead in new Iowa Poll

Clinton maintains big lead in new Iowa Poll

Hillary Rodham Clinton continues to lead the potential field of Democratic presidential candidates in Iowa, capturing a wide majority of support and enjoying sky-high approval ratings among likely caucusgoers. The results of the latest Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Iowa Poll underscore Clinton’s dominance a year ahead of Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucuses and the inability so far of any other potential candidate to crack her aura of inevitability.635583275198880817-AP-CANADA-DEM-2016-CLINTON-70200746

Clinton, the former U.S. secretary of state and a fixture in national Democratic politics for more than 20 years, is the first choice for 56 percent of poll respondents. That’s 40 points ahead of the next potential contender, liberal populist Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who is the top choice for 16 percent. Whoever ultimately gets into the race will look to make themselves the most credible choice alongside Clinton, said Iowa-based Democratic strategist Jeff Link.

“You want to make this a two-person race, and you want to be the alternative to the front-runner,” Link said. “There’s a chance that that could happen, and if it does, that’ll be when things will become more interesting.” Clinton is viewed favorably by 84 percent of likely caucusgoers, and just 1 percent aren’t sure of their feelings about her. Among potential candidates, only Vice President Joe Biden enjoys popularity anywhere near that, at 78 percent.

For former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and former Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia, a majority of respondents don’t know enough about them even to form an opinion. Poll respondent Nora Walker, a 20-year-old Iowa State University student, said she’s been a fan of Clinton going back to 2008 and wants to see a woman elected president. “Not only do I think it’s time for a woman to be in office, I think she’s the right woman for the job,” Walker said of Clinton. But Walker also said she’s unfamiliar with the rest of the potential field, and wasn’t entirely ruling out support for another candidate.