Beyond the Midterms: Who'd Be Good in 2016?
Looking beyond today's midterms to the big event in 2016, half of registered voters in an ABC News/Washington Post poll say Hillary Clinton would make a good president, far more than say the same about some of her potential Republican rivals.
Then again, they're far less well known - and Clinton's got difficulties of her own.
For one, at 50 percent, views that Clinton has the makings of a good president fall short of a majority, much less a comfortable one. Another is that 43 percent don't think she would make a good president, a negative not to dismiss. The rest, enough to tip the scale, are undecided.
But those realities don't make things any easier for four possible GOP candidates tested in this survey. Fifty-two percent think Jeb Bush would not make a good president, as do 49 percent when it comes to Rick Perry, 48 percent for Chris Christie and 45 percent for Rand Paul.
Far fewer, ranging from 20 to 26 percent, think any of them would make a good president, leaving anywhere from 21 to 31 percent with no opinion. Those undecided would have to come down very heavily on the positive side to boost these potential candidates to Clinton's level.
There's time for all involved to make their case, and election politics ultimately are comparative - not about who'd make a good president, but which of the eventual nominees would make the better one. Nonetheless, the results of this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, show where these potential candidates start in a basic measure of acceptability.
Clinton, for her part, has some notable strengths. She's well known overall and well liked within her party, with no strong rival for the nomination in sight. (Her popular stint as secretary of state may have helped.) Republicans, by contrast, are scattered in allegiance to potential nominees.
Eight in 10 Democrats and liberals think Clinton would make a good president, while fewer than half of Republicans and conservatives - in many cases, well fewer - say the same of the potential GOP candidates. Even a quarter of Republicans think Clinton would make a good president, better cross-party appeal than any of her GOP rivals.
Apart from Democrats and liberals, Clinton's best numbers come from nonwhites, moderates, younger and lower-income adults, post-graduates and women - typically strong groups for Democratic candidates.
There's risk for her in the finding that 49 percent of independents don't think she'd make a good president - but it's about the same among independents for Bush, Christie and Perry alike. Fewer independents, but still 42 percent, are skeptical of Paul - as with his potential GOP rivals, far more than think he'd fit the bill.
METHODOLOGY - This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by telephone Oct. 23-26, 2014, in English and Spanish, among a random national sample of 1,032 registered voters, including landline and cell-phone-only respondents. Results have a margin of sampling error of 3.5 points, including the survey's 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.