Democratic Contender Clinton Tops Republican Field, Presidential Approval and Direction of Country Mirror National Averages, Loras College Poll Finds

The Loras College Poll released results today of a survey measuring early support in the 2016 Presidential Election.  Iowa’s traditional first-in-the-nation status in selecting nominees, and the level of party competition between Democrats and Republicans in the general election, makes the state the focus of national and international attention in presidential politics.  The 2016 election will be no different, and the Loras College Poll will be providing periodic public opinion results on the contest.  Today’s results focus on potential matchups in the general election.
The results released today also include polling of approval ratings for President Obama and public assessment on the direction of the country.  The results from this recent survey of Iowans tend to match national averages on these questions.  In addition to the item on the direction of the country, the poll also asked respondents to assess the direction of Iowa as on the right track or heading in the wrong direction.  While respondents were negative as to the direction of the country, a majority were positive about the direction of Iowa.
2016 Presidential Election
While the exact field of candidates for the upcoming presidential election will not become complete for some time, it is widely speculated that Former Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will compete for the Democratic nomination as the presumptive nominee.  Just this week Clinton launched a book and speaking tour of the country and in interviews has indicated that once the book tour and electioneering for the 2014 midterms ends, that she will finalize her decision about her possible future as a presidential candidate.  She unsuccessfully sought the nomination in 2008 losing to then Senator Barack Obama.  The Republican field is more in flux, with a host of individuals considering a run for the White House.  The Loras College Poll presented respondents with hypothetical matchups between Hillary Clinton and several notable Republicans, including: Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, and Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan.  Clinton tops all of these potential Republican challengers in head-to-head general election matchups.
In the 2016 Race for the White House, the results are:
Hillary Clinton 48.7 percent
Jeb Bush 38.2 percent
Undecided/refused 13.2 percent

Hillary Clinton 52.0 percent
Rand Paul 37.5 percent
Undecided/refused 10.5 percent

Hillary Clinton 47.5 percent
Chris Christie 39.0 percent
Undecided/refused 13.5 percent

Hillary Clinton 49.7 percent
Mike Huckabee 39.8 percent
Undecided/refused 10.5 percent

Hillary Clinton 50.0 percent
Paul Ryan 38.7 percent
Undecided/refused 11.3 percent

“While the 2016 presidential election may seem like the distant future to many people, in political terms it is right around the corner.  Several of the possible Republican contenders have been crisscrossing the state over the past months, with a few providing endorsements in the recent Republican primaries,” said Associate Professor of Politics and Director of the Loras College Poll, Christopher Budzisz, Ph.D.  “Hillary Clinton has been characterized as the presumptive Democratic nominee since President Obama secured his second and final term in 2012.  Our results today indicate that while we are still more than two years away, Hillary Clinton has an enviable level of support here in Iowa.”
Presidential Job Approval
Beyond the possible presidential matchups, respondents were also asked to indicate presidential job approval/disapproval.  “Our results for President Obama’s job approval match the national poll averages.  Currently, the Real Clear Politics average on this question is 42.8 percent approval, 53.2 percent disapproval.  Iowans share a remarkably similar appraisal of President Obama’s job performance,” commented Budzisz.
On Job Approval for President Obama, the results are:
Definitely Approve 21.8 percent
Somewhat Approve       20.7 percent
TOTAL APPROVE 42.5 percent
Somewhat Disapprove 12.7 percent
Definitely Disapprove 41.5 percent
Undecided/refused 3.4 percent



Direction of Country and Iowa
In order to gauge perceptions about how things are going now and the likely direction of the future, respondents were asked whether the country was heading on the right track or was heading in the wrong direction.  They were also asked the same question for the direction of the State of Iowa.  The results below clearly indicate that people are more pessimistic about the direction of the country as a whole than the state.
On Direction of the Country, the results are:
Right Track 30.7 percent
Wrong Direction 58.5 percent
Unsure 10.7 percent

On Direction of the State of Iowa, the results are:
Right Track 57.5 percent
Wrong Direction 25.8 percent
Unsure 16.7 percent

“As with the presidential job approval results, the direction of the country results match the national averages.  The most interesting observation, and potentially most important for the gubernatorial election, is that unlike the country as a whole, a clear majority perceive that Iowa is on the ‘right track.’  This sentiment is certainly favorable to the incumbent Governor Terry Branstad,” Budzisz noted.
The Loras College Poll surveyed 600 likely 2014 general election voters; statewide results have a 4 percent margin of error.  The survey was conducted June 4-5, 2014.
  • Sample included only those who voted in the 2010 general election and who indicated likeliness to vote in 2014 and those who have registered to vote since 2010 and indicated likeliness to vote in 2014.
  • Survey includes both landlines (80 percent) and cell phones (20 percent). 
  • The survey was conducted using live operator interviews through a contracted professional call center.
  • In addition, the survey was balanced using historical voting patterns for partisanship, as well as demographic variables such as age, gender and geography. 
  • Script development and methodology used for the survey received input from Republican campaign consultant Steve Grubbs, and Democrat campaign consultant Dave Heller. 
For more on today’s announced results, please click here. Full poll results, including crosstabs will be available Tuesday June, 10, 2014.
The Loras College Poll is conducted several times each year.  Loras College faculty and student researchers work as part of the survey research team to develop poll questions, analyze and interpret data, and assist with sharing the final results with local, regional and national media.  Surveys are administered by professional, live callers through a contracted call center. 
Capitalizing on its location in the politically vital and vibrant state of Iowa, the Iowa Presidential Caucuses serves as a cornerstone of the Loras College Poll, with additional surveys focused on current events, social issues, economic issues, politics and more.
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