More than half of US voters want a fresh-faced Democrat in 2016 presidential race

Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. (Reuters / Brendan McDermid)
American voters are sick of Hillary Clinton ‒ more than half of them want Democrats to look for a fresh face to run for president in 2016, according to a new poll. And nearly 60 percent of Democratic voters themselves want a new candidate choice.

American voters are sick of Hillary Clinton ‒ more than half of them want Democrats to look for a fresh face to run for president in 2016, according to a new poll. And nearly 60 percent of Democratic voters themselves want a new candidate choice.

A national survey found that 54 percent of likely US voters believe the Democrats need someone who has never sought the presidency before to run in 2016. Even more ‒ 57 percent ‒ of likely Democratic voters want a new candidate, one who has never run for president in the past, a Rasmussen Reports telephone survey found. Clinton’s target demographic ‒ women ‒ aren’t lining up to support her, either, as 55 percent want a fresh face.

But just because voters don’t want the former first lady to run doesn’t mean that she is deeply unpopular. They’re actually split fairly evenly on whether they have a favorable ‒ 48 percent ‒ or unfavorable ‒ 49 percent ‒ opinion of her. Of those, just over a fifth viewed her very favorably, while a third saw her very unfavorably. Democrats were more likely to like Clinton, with 84 percent being positive towards her.

Clinton has been the center of several scandals, including her use of private email instead of a government one while she was secretary of state and the circumstances surrounding the deaths of the US ambassador to Libya and three others in Benghazi in 2012.

Screenshot from www.rasmussenreports.com

H. Boyd Brown, a member of the Democratic National Committee from South Carolina who supports former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley over the former secretary of state, told the Washington Post that Clinton’s star will falter as press scrutiny increases.

“Nobody down here wants a coronation,” Brown said. “We need options. Who knows what could happen. It’s always good to have more than one candidate running.”

“Those aren’t some tabloid scandals,” he said of the Clinton controversies. “Those are job-related, national-security-related issues that matter.”

Democratic support for the former senator has dropped about 15 percentage points since mid-February, with as few as 45 percent of Dems saying they would support Clinton in the last week, according to a Reuters/Ipsos tracking poll.

Allvoices’ Darren Richardson believes that the email and other issues Clinton is battling “aren’t likely to do much more than give minor talking points to her Republican opponents, but they do point to a major issue with Clinton as the Democratic nominee – the possibility of death by a thousand cuts.”

But are there alternatives?

“The problem is, there’s nobody out there who’s not Clinton who’s the equivalent of Barack Obama,” Larry Drake, chairman of the Portsmouth Democrats in New Hampshire, told the Post. “He was a fresh face... and he gave great speeches­ and he turned out to be electable.”

Rasmussen ranked all potential Democratic candidates according to tiers: Clinton is the “undisputed frontrunner”; Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Vice President Joe Biden are the “obvious anti-Clinton alternatives”; Secretary of State John Kerry comprises the third tier; former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) and O’Malley are the fourth tier; and Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota are listed as “would only run if Hillary Clinton doesn’t.”

Former Vice President Al Gore, who lost to George W. Bush in 2000, could also run again. He’s not the only Democrat with presidential campaign experience. Biden lost the nomination in 1988 and again in 2008, Kerry lost to Bush in 2004 and Clinton famously came in second behind Obama in the 2008 primaries.

Age is a factor, as the campaign retreads are all over a decade older than Obama’s 53 years: Clinton is 67, Kerry is 71, Biden is 72 and Gore is 66. Many of the names thrown out as potential runners are of the same generation as the previous candidates: Warren is 65, Webb is 69 and Sanders is 73. The true fresh faces ‒ those without the national name recognition ‒ are contemporaries of the president: O’Malley is 52, Gillibrand is 48, Klobuchar is 54.