Now that the 2012 election is over, time to think about 2016. At least one polling firm thinks so.
The first polls of the next presidential race, by the Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling, found Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as the Democrats’ favorite in the first two states on the political calendar, Iowa and New Hampshire.
Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee led among Republicans in Iowa, while New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was the preference among Republicans in New Hampshire.
Even before the final ballots of 2012 are counted and Florida’s 29 electoral votes are officially awarded to President Barack Obama, PPP looked ahead four years from now and found 58 percent of Iowa Democrats and 60 percent of New Hampshire Democrats preferring Clinton, who unsuccessfully sought her party’s nomination in 2008 and lost to Obama.
Vice President Joe Biden was the runner-up among Democrats, with 17 percent in Iowa and with 10 percent in New Hampshire.
On the Republican side, Huckabee polled 15 percent in Iowa. Christie, 2012 vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan and Florida Senator Marco Rubio tied for second, with 12 percent. Christie led in New Hampshire with 21 percent, while Rubio was second with 14 percent.
The surveys were taken Nov. 3-4, even while other pollsters still were asking likely voters about their presidential preferences this year.
PPP is an automated poll, meaning it cannot call cell phones and does not know who is pressing the response buttons on the other end of the landline. Even so, it called eight of the nine swing states in 2012, missing only in its home state of North Carolina when the Raleigh-based firm forecast a tie rather than the eventual win by Republican nominee Mitt Romney.
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