Sanders the top pick for Dems if Clinton forced to drop out of White House race - poll

Democratic U.S. presidential candidates Clinton and Sanders © Mary Schwalm
Should Hillary Clinton leave the presidential race for health or other reasons, Democrats favor leftwing US Senator Bernie Sanders over Clinton's vice presidential nominee to take her place, according to a new poll.

Sanders, who issued the main challenge to Clinton for the Democratic nomination for president, received the support of 48 percent of likely Democratic voters who were asked their preference to replace Clinton should she drop out, a Rasmussen poll reported Friday. 

Twenty-two percent of Democratic respondents said they would prefer current vice president Joe Biden to take Clinton's place, while 14 percent said US Senator Tim Kaine, Clinton's running mate, is their preferred choice.

Clinton's health has become an issue in her presidential campaign against Republican Donald Trump, 70, after Clinton fell ill with pneumonia last week. Prior to the illness, Trump had insinuated on the campaign trail that Clinton, 68, was hiding important revelations about her health. Despite Clinton's "mild," non-contagious form of pneumonia, a doctor said this week that she is "healthy and fit to serve as president." The Democratic presidential nominee was back on the campaign trail in North Carolina by Thursday.

"From my perspective, I thought I was going to be fine and I thought that there was no reason to make a big fuss about it," Clinton said about her attempt to keep the illness under wraps.

The Rasmussen poll also found that 46 percent of voters said the news media's coverage of Clinton's health was overblown, while 28 percent there was not enough media coverage and 21 percent said the amount coverage was about right. Democrats and women were more likely than Republicans and men to say media coverage of Clinton's health has been excessive.

Democrats, Republicans, and political independents all strongly agree that candidates' health is an important campaign issue, Rasmussen reported last week.

Other polls have shown voters are concerned about Clinton's health. Forty-one percent of respondents told a recent Morning Consult poll that they believed her health was below average.

On Thursday, Trump released details of recent physical examination, showing that he had normal cholesterol and blood pressure levels while weighing in at 236 pounds (107 kg). The Trump campaign said the report shows he "has the stamina to endure — uninterrupted — the rigors of a punishing and unprecedented presidential campaign and, more importantly, the singularly demanding job of president of the United States."

Trump leads Clinton by two percent in the latest Rasmussen survey of the presidential race, while Clinton holds a two percent lead over Trump in a new CBS/New York Times poll.