WASHINGTON, D.C. — Hillary Clinton would be the runaway favorite among Democrats for the party’s 2016 presidential nomination, a new Quinnipiac University poll shows, but activists at Emily’s List, who have launched a campaign to elect the first woman president, aren’t satisfied — Clinton was the only female choice offered.
“It is a very nice list of Democratic male candidates,” said Stephanie Schriock, president of the group, which supports Democratic women candidates. “I’d like to today challenge any national polling organization to start testing some of these other great women, whether they are secretaries or they are senators. Because the truth is this is a wide-open race if Secretary Clinton doesn’t decide to do this.”
The Quinnipiac survey of 650 Democrats nationwide found that 65 percent would vote for Clinton in a presidential primary. If she were in the race, Vice President Joe Biden would be the second choice at 13 percent, followed by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo at 4 percent. Three other choices offered polled at just 1 percent each, while 14 percent of voters were undecided.
If Clinton does not run, the Quinnipiac poll showed Biden leading the pack with 45 percent, with Cuomo at 15 percent. Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick climbs to 6 percent, followed by Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley at 3 percent and Virginia Sen. Mark Warner at 2 percent. The undecided number also climbs without Clinton as an option, to 26 percent.
Schriock offered five women as potential presidential timber: Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, former Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire, and Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, N.Y., and Amy Klobuchar, Minn.
“I think it is right for all of us to really look at the full pool of potential candidates — and that does include a list of strong women,” she said.
Emily’s List on Thursday announced its “Madam President” campaign to elect the nation’s first woman president. The effort will include town hall meetings in key early-voting states like Iowa and New Hampshire and an online effort to engage the public on the idea of a female commander-in-chief.
Clinton would be the obvious choice if she runs. But “if she chooses not to, our options are far from exhausted,” Schriock said.
The group also hopes to add to the ranks of Democrats in the House and Senate in 2014, as well as in governor’s mansions. There is just one sitting Democratic woman governor, Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire.
Emily’s List produced its own survey of voters in nine battleground states testing the viability of a woman presidential candidate. Eighty-six percent of respondents said Americans are ready to elect a woman as president, and 72 percent said it was either very likely or somewhat likely that America will elect a woman in 2016.
The survey also revealed some potential barriers for a woman nominee. One-in-four respondents thought a male president would do a better job than a woman on the issue of national security while only 3 percent thought a woman would, though 70 percent said it would not make a difference. Twenty-two percent thought a male president would do better working with U.S. allies, while 8 percent thought a woman would be better.