Hillary Clinton continues to crush the 2016 Democratic competition

Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivers remarks after being presented the 2013 Tom Lantos Human Rights Prize December 6, 2013 in Washington, DC. Win McNamee, Getty Images

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has yet to say whether she’ll run for president in 2016, but a new national poll and a poll from a key primary state show she has a substantial advantage at this point over the potential competition.

If the 2016 Democratic primary were today, 73 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents would vote for Clinton, according to a new Washington Post/ ABC poll. Just 12 percent said they would vote for Vice President Biden, while 8 percent said they’d vote for Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. Warren. While Warren is a favorite among liberals, she is among the several lawmakers who have said they’d support Clinton if she were to run.

Clinton’s lead in the survey, conducted Jan. 20-23 among a national sample of 1,003 adults, is the largest lead in an early primary matchup that the Post/ABC poll has recorded in 30 years. The overall margin of error for the poll is 3.5 points.

In a theoretical head-to-head matchup against potential Republican presidential candidate Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., Clinton leads among registered voters, 53 percent to 41 percent.

While Clinton is the clear frontrunner at this point for the Democratic nomination, no candidate on the Republican side has a distinct advantage. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., who was the 2012 GOP vice presidential candidate, leads the potential field with 20 percent support of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents. Former Gov. Jeb Bush, R-Fla., won 18 percent while Christie won 13 percent.  

The race for the Republican nomination, in contrast, is wide open, with six prospective candidates registering 10 percent to 20 percent support. No candidate has broad backing from both tea party activists and mainline Republicans, signaling potential fissures when the GOP picks a standard-bearer in 2016. Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas; Rand Paul, R-Ky.; and Marco Rubio, R-Fla.; all won between 12 and 10 percent support.  

The scandal surrounding the seemingly politically-motivated closure of some lanes on the George Washington Bridge seems to have done some damage to Christie’s reputation. Forty-six percent of adults surveyed said the scandal was a “sign of broader problems” with Christie’s leadership, while 43 percent said it was an “isolated incident.”

Meanwhile, a poll of voters in the early nominating state of New Hampshire had similar results.

Among likely Democratic primary voters in the state, 74 percent said they would vote for Clinton if the primary were today, while just 10 percent chose Biden. Other candidates received marginal support.

Among likely Republican primary voters, 16 percent said they’d support Paul, 13 percent chose Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H.; and 11 percent backed former Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass. Another 9 percent supported Christie, while 6 percent supported Ryan and 6 percent supported Rubio.  

The WMUR Granite State Poll surveyed 584 randomly selected New Hampshire adults between Jan. 21-26. Its overall margin of error was 4.1 percent.

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