At this point in 2003, nobody would have pegged an Illinois state legislator who's bombed badly in a congressional primary challenge as the next president. (We all figured 2008 was gonna be President Dean's re-election bid.)
But amidst all the GOP polling it's a fun sidebar to look at some potential 2016 Democrats, and Hillary Clinton is way out front:
57% of Democrats in (South Carolina) say she'd be their first choice for the party nominee in 2016. She's followed by Joe Biden at 23%, Andrew Cuomo at 5%, Deval Patrick at 2%, Russ Feingold and Mark Warner at 1%, and Kirsten Gillibrand and Brian Schweitzer at 0%.Of course, pundits and Republicans like to stir the pot because a destructive 2012 primary challenge would be a great story. Hillary is still making Sherman Statements:
We've done similar polls in Iowa (where Clinton was at 44% to 13% for Biden and no one else in doublt digits) and New Hampshire (where Clinton was at 52% to 16% for Biden and no one else in double digits.) It's clear at this point that if Clinton decided to run she would start out as the overwhelming favorite for the Democratic nomination. Of course that was the case in 2008 too which is why these early polls are fun but not terribly predictive.
"Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says there is a 'below zero' chance that she will challenge President Barack Obama for the presidency in 2012."I buy the first part but not the last. She leaves State sometime in early `14, campaigns for congressional candidates nationwide that fall, then gets back into the ball game.
"I am not interested in being drawn back into it [politics] by anybody," said Clinton.
In the past, Clinton has also indicated that she would like secretary of state to be last her job in government.