NEWPORT NEWS – A new poll released Monday by the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University says Virginia voters would choose Florida Governor Jeb Bush over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton if the 2016 presidential election were held now.
“Battleground Virginia will live up to its name in 2016,” said Tom Kramer, assistant director of the Wason Center. “In the face of a barrage of attacks from her real and potential Republican challengers, Hillary Clinton’s once formidable position has weakened.”
Clinton beats a lineup of other potential Republican candidates in head-to-head contests, but has lost ground to them since a Wason Center poll in February.
In the hypothetical 2016 match-up, voters chose Bush (48%) over Clinton (46%). Other Republican contenders lose to her by low single-digits.
Virginia Republicans’ preference is far from settled, with Bush and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio atop a wide open field. Asked who they would vote for if a primary were held today, Republicans and GOP-leaning independents gave the top spots to Bush (17 percent) and Rubio (16 percent), with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker next at 10 percent.
“The Republican field continues to be very fluid,” said Kramer. “While there are no break-out candidates yet, we do see a sorting taking place, with Bush and Rubio emerging as top-tier candidates, and Christie, Paul, and Walker forming a solid second-tier.”
Clinton far outstrips her potential rivals for the Democrats’ nomination. Among Virginia Democrats and independents who lean toward Democrats, 80% prefer Clinton in a hypothetical primary. Next are former Virginia Senator Jim Webb (6%) and Vice President Joe Biden (5%).
The Wason Center survey was based on interviews with 658 registered voters, conducted April 13-24. The margin of error overall is +/- 4.6 percent.