Hillary Clinton, John Kasich fare well in new polls

Democratic U.S. presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton responds to a question about the potential use of U.S. ground troops to fight Islamic State during the Democratic presidential candidates debate at St. Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire December 19, 2015. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
REUTERS

Two new polls out should make for a good Christmas for two of the 2016 presidential candidates, Democrat Hillary Clinton and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican.

Clinton got a major boost from last week's Democratic debate, according to a new CNN/ORC poll. In interviews conducted before the debate, 45 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents said they would vote for Clinton in the Democratic primary, compared to 37 percent who said they would vote for Sanders. After the debate, however, the percentage who said they would vote for Clinton jumped to 60 and dropped to 27 for Sanders.

Overall, Clinton leads Sanders with 50 percent support to his 34 percent support. That is slightly down from a CNN/ORC poll in late November that showed Clinton with 58 percent and Sanders with 34 percent.

Voters think she is slightly better able to handle economic issues (47 percent for Clinton, 39 percent for Sanders) but far more able to tackle foreign policy (72 percent for Clinton, 15 percent for Sanders) and the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) (63 percent for Clinton, 18 percent for Sanders). They also give her an edge on handling gun policy issues, with 51 percent choosing Clinton and 27 percent handling Sanders.

Her outlook isn't so rosy when it comes to head-to-head matchups with potential GOP candidates. She barely edges out Republican Donald Trump - 49 percent picked Clinton and 47 percent picked the businessman, within the poll's margin of error. Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and Ted Cruz of Texas both beat her by narrow margins (Cruz leads 48 percent to 46 percent and Rubio leads 49 percent to 46 percent). They both beat her by 12 points among independent voters, although she is even with Trump among that group.

On the Republican side, a new American Research Group survey out of New Hampshire shows that Ohio Gov. John Kasich is running third in the Granite State with 13 percent support among likely Republican primary voters. He's behind Trump with 21 percent and Rubio with 15 percent. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie gets 12 percent support and Cruz gets 10 percent, with all under candidates in the single digits.

Trump does better among the 45 percent of likely GOP primary voters who have not actually registered as Republicans. Twenty-nine percent of these undeclared voters say they would pick him, compared to just 15 percent among registered Republicans. Rubio does best among registered Republicans with 16 percent support, and Kasich gets 15 percent.

Kasich also appears to be plausible presidential option for a wide swath of voters. Eighty-one percent of voters say they'd consider him, second only to Rubio, who got 83 percent. Just 37 percent of those surveyed said they would vote for Trump. Fifty-seven percent say they'd never vote for him. Just 16 percent said the same of Kasich and 11 percent said they would never consider Rubio.

The CNN/ORC poll surveyed 1,018 adults by telephone between Dec. 17-21 The full sample has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. Among the 414 registered voters surveyed who identify as Democrats or Democratic-leaning independents, the margin of error is plus or minus 5 percentage points.

The American Research Group surveyed 600 likely Republican primary voters living in New Hampshire by telephone between Dec. 20 and 22. There were 329 registered Republicans and 271 undeclared voters. The margin of error is plus or minus 4 percentage points.

  • Rebecca Kaplan

    Rebecca Kaplan is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.