Clinton ahead of Democrat challenger by 60 points
(NBC News) – Hillary Clinton is leading her nearest Democratic competitor by a whopping 60 points, and she holds the early general-election advantage against the top Republican White House contenders, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.
Seventy-five percent of national Democratic primary voters favor Clinton in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination – compared with 15 percent who pick Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., four percent who choose former Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., and two percent who select former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley.
What’s more, 92 percent of Democratic voters say they could see themselves supporting Clinton for the Democratic nomination, which is up six points since March.
Just eight percent can’t see themselves backing her in the current poll, which was conducted right after Clinton formally kicked off her presidential campaign with a rally in New York City. (By contrast, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s score among Republicans is 75-22 percent and Sen. Marco Rubio’s, R-Fla., is 74-15 percent.)
“Hillary Clinton continues to lap the field on the Democratic side,” says Democratic pollster Peter Hart, who conducted this survey with GOP pollster Bill McInturff.
McInturff adds that Clinton is in the “strongest and most advantageous” position for a non-incumbent running for his or her party’s presidential nomination in his lifetime working in politics.
Looking ahead to the general election, Clinton also leads Bush by eight points (48 percent to 40 percent), Rubio by 10 points (50 percent to 40 percent) and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker by 14 (51 percent to 37 percent).
But the NBC/WSJ poll offers two cautionary notes about Clinton’s leads. One, 62 percent of Democratic primary voters want her to have a challenging primary to test her for the general election, signaling they don’t want a coronation to the nomination.
And two, the poll shows a generic Democrat defeating a generic Republican in the 2016 presidential race by just three points, 39 percent to 36 percent, suggesting that the general election will be competitive.
“Like the [Max] Scherzer no-hitter or the U.S. Open, the outcome won’t be known until the final pitch or the final putt,” Hart says.
Also in the poll, President Obama’s job-approval rating stands at 48 percent among all adults, which is unchanged from April.
But that comes amid renewed pessimism about the state of the U.S. economy. Just 37 percent of Americans say they’re satisfied with the economy – down eight points since January.
Forty-six percent say they’re more optimistic about the economy – down two points from March.
In addition, the poll finds 45 percent of American adults believing that the economy has improved and giving Obama some credit for it; another 17 percent agreeing that the economy has improved but not giving the president much credit; and 37 percent saying the economy really hasn’t improved.
Measuring how to combat ISIS: With U.S. troops or without.
And turning to foreign affairs, the poll shows 28 percent of Americans favor sending U.S. troops into Iraq “for as long as it takes” to combat ISIS.
Thirty-two percent support sending U.S. troops for only a short period of time to allow the Iraqi army to take over. And 38 percent don’t want to send any U.S. troops into Iraq.