Romney Leads Scattered 2016 GOP Field, Clinton Still Dominates the Democratic Race

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Hillary Clinton continues to hold a commanding lead in the potential Democratic field for president in 2016, while the GOP frontrunner in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll is a familiar figure - but one not favored by eight in 10 potential Republican voters.

That would be Mitt Romney, supported for the GOP nomination by 21 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents. That's double the support of his closest potential rival, but it also leaves 79 percent who prefer one of 13 other possible candidates tested, or none of them.

See PDF with full results and tables here.

When Romney is excluded from the race, his supporters scatter, adding no clarity to the GOP free-for-all. In that scenario former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul have 12 or 13 percent support from leaned Republicans who are registered to vote. All others have support in the single digits.

Were Romney to run again, he'd likely face some of the same challenges that dragged out the 2012 GOP contest. He's supported by only half as many "strong" conservatives as those who are "somewhat" conservative, 15 vs. 30 percent in this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates.

Huckabee, for his part, does somewhat better with Republican-leaning independents than with mainline Republicans, a potential problem in closed primaries. He also does better with women than with men; that's reversed for Paul.

(Langer Research Associates)

DEMS - Clinton continues to dominate on the Democratic side, with 64 percent support. Still, there are some gaps in her support: It's 54 percent among men vs. 70 percent of women and

55 percent among those younger than 50 vs. 72 percent among those 50 and older. And she gets less support from Democratic-leaning independents, 53 percent, than from mainline Democrats, 69 percent.

Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts have 13 and 11 percent support, respectively. Biden does better among those under 50, those with less education and nonwhites; Warren, among college graduates and whites.

(Langer Research Associates)

It's early days for all this, of course; the 2016 election is two years away. But after the midterms just two weeks off, it'll be the next item on the dance card.

METHODOLOGY - This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by telephone Oct. 9-12, 2014, in English and Spanish, among a random national sample of 1,006 adults, including landline and cell-phone-only respondents. Results among the 871 registered voters interviewed have a margin of sampling error of 4 points, including design effect.

The survey was produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates of New York, N.Y., with sampling, data collection and tabulation by Abt-SRBI of New York, N.Y.

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