PPP’s newest national poll finds that Hillary Clinton generally holds modest leads over the Republican field for President, with Ben Carson faring the strongest among the GOP hopefuls.
Carson earns a tie with Clinton at 44%, and he actually leads Bernie Sanders 42/36 in a head to head. Carson is the only declared candidate with a positive favorability rating- 41% of voters nationally see him positively to only 30% who have a negative opinion. He earns a tie with Clinton on the basis of a 43/35 advantage with independents.
The other candidates who come really close to Clinton are Donald Trump and Carly Fiorina, who are each down by just 2. Fiorina trails Clinton 45/43, and is down 39/38 to Sanders. Trump is down just 2 points as well at 46/44, and he leads Sanders 43/42. It used to be that nominating Trump looked like it would be an unmitigated disaster for the GOP but as he’s gotten stronger in Republican polls, he’s also gotten stronger in general election polling and is now doing better against Clinton than the perceived ‘electable’ candidate trio of Bush, Rubio, and Walker. Interestingly Joe Biden actually does far better than both Clinton and Sanders against Trump, with a 6 point advantage at 47/41. Biden joins Carson as the second person with a positive rating in this poll at 43/40.
The news of Trump possibly forgoing a third party bid is very good for the GOP. We find that he would actually earn more support than Jeb Bush in a three way contest, getting 27% to Bush’s 23% and leaving Clinton with a landslide victory at 42%. Bush leads Trump only 46/44 with Republican voters in that scenario, and gets 31% of independents to only 19% for Bush.
The weakest performing Republicans against Clinton are Scott Walker who trails by 7 at 47/40, and Mike Huckabee who trails by 6 at 48/42. In the middle are Ted Cruz who’s down 5 at 47/42, John Kasich who’s down 5 at 44/39, and Marco Rubio who’s down at 47/43.
We tested Jeb Bush against Clinton, Sanders, and Biden to get a sense of their relative strength as general election candidates. Clinton (a 4 point lead over Bush at 46/42) and Biden (a 3 point lead over Bush at 44/41) do quite similarly. Sanders does a little bit worse, trailing Bush by a point at 41/40.
Finally we rounded up a bunch of the ‘joke candidates’ who have filed with the FEC to see who America’s favorite is from that crew. The winner is Captain Crunch with 17%, followed by Deez Nuts at 9%, Beast Mode at 5%, Queen Elsa Ice at 4%, Butt Stuff at 3%, Cranky Pants at 2%, and Limberbutt McCubbins and ‘Murican Cookies each at 1%.
Polling joke candidates has been fun, but we’re going to take a break now and stick to serious people like Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and Kanye.
Full results here